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The year that saw rise of Congress and agitations

Looking back at 2017… One sees a politically eventful year, a year made up a series of events that have led to a mobilisation of various sections, especially the farmers and the Dalits. The discontent in these sections was successfully harnessed in the form of agitations that not only put the government’s problem solving skills to test but also created a situation wherein the agitators managed to get the upper hand as they entered into agreements with the government.The year that has passed has seen the Congress rise like the phoenix. The party that was reduced to redundancy in last elections has grown to be a force to be reckoned with. The opposition party has managed to catch the fancy of the rural population with its incessant raising of the farmers’ issues. It today has the distinction of being a state that is home to four of Rahul Gandhi’s close aides; CP Joshi, Bhanwar Jitendra Singh, Sachin Pilot and the newly added Ashok Gehlot.Congress also made its relevance felt nationally by striking emotional cord. The name for Rahul Gandhi as AICC president was proposed in Jaipur. It was projected as the logical action in the city where Rahul took charge as party vice-president.All through 2017 the die has been cast. It has laid the foundation for the years to come. The year that passes by has managed to fuel discontent to such a level that the run down to the assembly polls at the end of 2018 will be interspersed with protests and agitation.Discontent among the castes was on the rise all through the year. With no concerted effort to contain, it escalated and spread. The Gurjars, Jats and Meenas under Kirori; have an axe to grind with the present government. Rajputs and Brahmins have their own issues. This caste cauldron, while being a political irritant spells trouble for the social fabric too.As the year prepares to fade out, both BJP and Congress have decided to adopt the Gujarat model. The poll preparation will be on the lines adopted in Gujarat. Congress with its offensive campaign and the BJP plans to decentralise to the booth level to ensure each vote.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
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

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

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

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

Surat-based student makes solar dustbins

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

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

Diabetics cannot claim mediclaim in first four years

If you have diabetes and hypertension, forget that you can rely on your mediclaim or health insurance policy in emergency, if the policy is not at least four years old.The Gujarat Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has ruled that if one goes for any surgery within four years of buying an insurance policy and claims refund, it will be considered to be in violation of terms and conditions and the person won’t be entitled to health/medical claim. The commission also set aside an order by the Junagadh forum.”There is an error in the conclusion of the forum in directing the United Insurance Company Limited to pay health claim to complainant Mahendra Vazirani. As per the policy conditions, even though a disclosure is made about diabetes and hypertension, insurance benefits can be extended only after four years,” the commission concluded.It added, “In the present case, the complainant underwent a bypass surgery within two years of buying the health insurance policy. It clearly establishes the violation of the terms and conditions of the policy; so the complainant won’t be entitled to a claim.”The commission’s judicial bench of members VM Chaudhary and MD Gadhvi, while allowing the appeal of the insurance company, opined that there is merit in its submission that diabetes has a direct relationship with hypertension. In support of its contention, it cited the National Commission’s order in LIC vs Srimati Shashi Bala.In this case, complainant Mahendra had subscribed to an individual health policy from the insurance company for 2009-2010. On August 13, 2009, he underwent an angiography, after which he was asked to undergo a bypass surgery. He was operated upon at a Nadiad hospital and he had paid a medical bill of Rs1.20 lakh. As he had a health insurance policy of Rs1 lakh, he said he was entitled to 70 per cent of the insured amount.However, the company rejected his claim citing pre-existing diabetes and hypertension which he had disclosed while buying the policy.An aggrieved Mahendra then approached the Junagadh forum which then asked the insurance company to pay the claim amount. The company challenged the order before the commission.A CONDITIONAL COVERThe Gujarat Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has ruled that a person who has diabetes and hypertension cannot demand mediclaim refund within 4 yrs of the policy

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

9 car-jacking cases reported in city each month last year

Almost nine incidents of car-jacking were reported every month in the national Capital in 2017, at an average. South-west, among all administrative districts of the Delhi Police, reported the highest number of incidents.According to a data, accessed by DNA, 97 car-jacking incidents were reported in the Capital in 2017 up to November 15. Of all the incidents, 33 were reported from southwest alone, while North, Central, Shahadra and New Delhi districts, reported just one incident each.However, the data further says that Southwest district also recorded the highest solving rate in the car-jacking cases, which was 13. New Delhi, Central and Shahadra districts, which recorded one incident each, could not solve any of these cases till November mid. Of the total 97 car-jacking cases reported, only 45 were solved.In 2016, Delhi witnessed 124 cases of car-jacking, of which 67 were solved. Rohini district reported 44, which was the highest among all the districts in 2016.Senior Delhi Police officials said that special drives were undertaken in 2017 to bring the menace of car-jacking down and claimed it to have been effective. “Since a surge was witnessed last year, a number of special initiatives were started. These included picketing, erecting barricades at identified car-jacking prone stretches, bike patrolling and installation of CCTV cameras in and around the dark zones,” said a senior officer, adding that awareness among car owners also helped bring the crime rate down.On solving these cases, the officer further added that a tight watch over the second-hand car dealers across the Capital and intense round-the-clock vigil over the unauthorised parking places, where these stolen vehicles are hidden by the gangs until disposed of, has also helped in recovery and arrests.As an advice to the car owners, the officer also mentioned that everyone must ensure that their vehicle has GPS installed. “In many cases, vehicles have been recovered even when it has been taken across the state borders,” he said.SOUTHWEST TOPS2017Total car-jacking: 97 Solved: 45 District with highest:Southwest (33)2016 Total car-jacking: 124Solved: 67District with highest:Rohini (44)

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

Western Railway faces real test as AC local runs up to Virar today

The Western Railway (WR) braces for a challenging first day of 2018 as it is the D-Day to operate the newly inaugurated air-conditioned local train up to Virar. On Sunday, WR officials were busy with the final checks of the AC locals as beginning Monday, the local will run for 60 kms.Over the past two days, the WR carried out basic maintenance checks and inspection in the AC rake. “Primary checks were carried out. The AC train will run on the Churchgate-Virar route as scheduled,” said Ravindra Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western Railway.After its launch on December 25, up to December 29, the AC local ran six services daily which will be upped to 12 services from January 1. Of these, eight services will run the Churchgate-Virar stretch and the remaining on the Churchgate-Borivali route. As per the decided schedule for the AC local, authorities will operate one service each during the morning and evening peak hours.Initial runs from the last week have mostly received negative feedback from commuters owing to the high fares, while some are of the opinion that the AC local is eating into the regular train services. “By replacing the existing local train services on the Churchgate-Borivali route with the AC train, almost 50,000 people have been affected,” said passenger activist Anil Galgali. Authorities are even more concerned about reactions once the AC local runs up to Virar.”The Railways should have at least lowered the fares. Who will spend Rs 205 one way from Virar to Churchgate when a second class season pass can be bought in almost the same amount,” said A Parab, a resident of Virar.A monthly pass for the AC local from Churchgate to Virar will cost Rs 2,040, fortnightly Rs 1,555, and weekly Rs 1,070. The daily ticket up to Vasai and Bhayander will cost Rs 195 and Rs 175 respectively. Between Churchgate and Virar, the AC local will halt at Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri, Borivali, Bhayander and Vasai. Similarly, three fast services will run between Churchgate and Borivali and the remaining one service will run as a slow service from Mahalaxmi to Borivali.AC LOCAL PERFORMANCE (DEC 25-29)Tickets sold 2037Passengers 6717Earnings Rs 4,14,053Without ticket cases 48

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
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

Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad who hit Air India staffer yet to be questioned: Delhi Police

After a case was registered, a Crime Branch team visited the airport to ascertain how the argument broke out between the MP and the AI manager. 15 AI staffers were questioned, including Sukumar. "The MP has not been questioned in the case. Both the parties have reached a compromise. We might file a closure report after fulfilling legal formalities," said an official privy to the probe. The incident had triggered massive outrage with the Air India and other private airlines even banning the MP from flying. The ban was later revoked after the MP wrote a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju expressing "regret" over the unfortunate incident. ”
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Sunday 31 December 2017 23:50 ISTMust readEx-CJI TS Thakur says no to AAP’s Rajya Sabha offerLucknow madrasa shocker: Police rescues 51 girls who were being sexually exploited by manager <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>More than nine months after Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad was booked for allegedly assaulting an Air India employee, the lawmaker is yet to be questioned in the case, the police said.Gaikwad, the Lok Sabha member from Osmanabad in Maharashtra, had hit 60-year-old duty manager R Sukumar “25 times” with a slipper when the official asked him to disembark after the plane landed at the IGI airport here from Pune. The MP was booked on charges of attempting to commit culpable homicide and using criminal force with intent to dishonor a person and the case was handed over to the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch.However, the probe team is yet to “conclude the probe”, said an official.After a case was registered, a Crime Branch team visited the airport to ascertain how the argument broke out between the MP and the AI manager. 15 AI staffers were questioned, including Sukumar. “The MP has not been questioned in the case. Both the parties have reached a compromise. We might file a closure report after fulfilling legal formalities,” said an official privy to the probe. The incident had triggered massive outrage with the Air India and other private airlines even banning the MP from flying. The ban was later revoked after the MP wrote a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju expressing “regret” over the unfortunate incident.

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
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?
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Congress blasts Modi govt’s foreign policy after Pulwama attack

The Congress today slammed the government over a terror attack on a CRPF camp in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was a sign of failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy.Party spokesperson Sushmita Dev said here that such recurring attacks send a message that anti-national forces do not fear India. During elections, Modi says India is a strong nation. But the number of casualties in ceasefire violations was going up, Dev said at a press conference. “It is a sign of failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy,” she said, adding the Congress wanted him to take strong steps to deter India’s external and internal enemies.Modi had claimed he had a 56-inch chest and that he would teach Pakistan a lesson, Dev said. “What that lesson could be he should decide. The Congress will support him if he takes any step in the interest of the nation. But he must do something immediately.” Citing a report on a “secret dialogue” between national security advisers of India and Pakistan, she said the government should inform Parliament about the dialogue it was engaging in concerning defence and foreign policy.Also readPulwama encounter: 5 CRPF jawans martyred, 2 terrorists killed”You have a talk after Christmas and an attack happened today in Pulwama. We are unable to accept these two. We do not oppose dialogue (with Pakistan) but what is the result of this if an attack dampens the image of the country in the world,” Dev said. She said the Congress expected the Modi government to have “consistency” in its foreign policy. “We have been repeatedly saying India is coming across as a nation with a wishy washy foreign policy. India is being increasingly taken more and more lightly,” she said.The government, by taking the Opposition along, should give a message to the world at large that “India cannot be taken lightly”, she said and added such incidents put the country in a “weak light”. Two heavily armed militants stormed the 185th battalion camp of the Central Reserve Police Force in Awantipora in Pulwama around 2 am, killing a personnel and leaving two others injured.

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
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

Mann Ki Baat: PM Modi hails Anjum Bashir’s Kashmir Civil Service exam feat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday showered praises on Jammu and Kashmir’s Anjum Bashir Khan, a 27-year-old youth who had lost his house to militancy, for cracking the Kashmir Civil Service exam this year.Addressing the nation on 39th edition of monthly radio address of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Prime Minister Modi said: Anjum Bashir is an inspiration, not only to the state of Jammu and Kashmir but to the whole of India.”Recently, I came to know of the inspiring story of Anjum Bashir Khan Khattak. He extricated from the sting of terrorism and hatred and topped in the Kashmir Administrative Examination. Today, he is an inspiration not only for Jammu and Kashmir but India,” he said.Also readMann ki Baat highlights: PM Narendra Modi shares his 2018 vision, says new India will be free from corruptionPrime Minister Modi further said he met some daughters of Jammu and Kashmir and was amazed at the spirit and enthusiasm they nurtured.”Just last week, I had a chance of meeting some daughters of Jammu and Kashmir. I was amazed at the spirit that they had, the enthusiasm that was there in their hearts and dreams they nurtured,” he added.Also readPM Modi meets students from Jammu and Kashmir; discusses girl education, Swachh BharatPrime Minister Modi also hailed his government for taking steps to facilitate Haj for the Muslim women.”We have also made provisions so that Muslim women do not have to wait for permission to go to Haj. They can now decide for themselves and we have already received several applications,” he added.

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
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Swamy calls Rajinikanth ‘illiterate’, says ‘political entry only media hype, people of Tamil Nadu are intelligent’

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Sunday mocked superstar Rajinikanth’s announcement on entering politics and dubbed him as illiterate.”One more film star is entering politics, so what is the fuss about? Maybe he has got good media managers. It is just a joke. He said he will announce the party later. He is a film star and he said he can eliminate corruption. Can film stars even eliminate corruption? What will he do for Tamil Nadu? He has no details or documents, he is illiterate”, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told ANI.He added that it is only media hype as people of Tamil Nadu are intelligent enough to understand politics.”Merely through media, these film stars cannot do politics. Once he announces his party and puts the anti-corruption issue in front, the truth will come out and he will run away. I don’t know if the BJP will support him but I will definitely oppose this,” Swamy asserted.Also readTamil Nadu: Rajinikanth to float political party, says, will contest next assembly pollsIn a much-anticipated moment for all his fans and well-wishers, superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday confirmed his entry into politics, adding that he will be contesting in the next state assembly elections by forming a new party.”My political entry is definite. This is a long-pending decision. I will feel guilty if I don’t take this decision at least now. In next assembly elections, I will form a party and will contest all constituencies in Tamil Nadu,” he said while addressing a gathering at the Sri Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam here.Talking about the current state of politics, the ‘Thalaiva’ called for a complete change in the democratic system and urged for a more honest and transparent system to emerge. “Democracy is in a bad shape right now, and all other states have been making fun of us (Tamil Nadu). In the name of democracy, politicians are robbing us of our own money on our own land. We need to bring a change from the base. It is not an easy task, but can be made possible through the support of the people and blessings of the almighty,” he said.(With agency inputs)

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

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

PM to launch Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao nationwide on Jan 22

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Jhunjhunu on January 22. He will formally launch ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ mission that will be now implemented in every district in the country. The PM will also inaugurate ‘national nutrition mission’. Till now, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ mission is running in 161 districts including 14 from Rajasthan. Jhunjhunu, which once boasted the highest sex ratio has the lowest sex ratio in the state, now. The ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ mission that began from Haryana two years ago has brought a welcome change in people’s attitude. On the third anniversary, it will be implemented in the entire country.The changed face of 10 districtsIn Rajasthan, 14 districts were selected for the mission, where the sex ratio was highest. After two years, at least ten districts have shown remarkable progress. Jhunjhunu has converted from the lowest sex ratio district to the highest sex ratio district in the country. Still, four districts, which had shown improvement in the first year of the mission, are back to square one. Sawai Madhopur, Karauli, Bharatpur and Jaisalmer are at the bottom. Yet, Rajasthan has been able to maintain its number one position in ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ mission for which the state recently received Nari Shakti award from the President.Prime Minister Modi will facilitate 10 districts collectors from different parts of the country who did excellent work in the implementation of the mission. The PM will also directly communicate with officials in every district through video conferencing. Rajasthan’s women and child development department will be the nodal agency for the entire programme.The other flagship programme ‘national nutrition mission’ will also be expanded in every state. Earlier, it was operational in only eight states. In Rajasthan, it will cover 24 districts in place of 19 districts, at present. Later, in a phased manner, all districts in the country will be covered by 2019-20. In the current financial year, 315 districts, next year 235 and remaining will be covered in 2019-20.The mission will focus to remove stunting, malnutrition, anemia and low weight at birth through better coordination and monitoring. The states will be encouraged to achieve the targets. “A video conference was held with district officials regarding the Prime Minister’s visit. They have been given necessary instruction. The PM will launch Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and national nutrition missions on January 22. At present these programmes are operation only a few states,” said Shuchi Sharma, director, ICDS.

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Noida Juvenile Home staff suspended for abuse

The Uttar Pradesh government has suspended a care taker of the Noida Juvenile Home, after the media reported torture, abuse, and prevalence of disease in the home. A committee was earlier set up and three people were accused of being involved in the abuse. The government team, however, found the allegations true against only one employee, Prakash Chandra, and suspended him on Saturday.According to a senior official, the commission observed that the objective of a juvenile home was to guide youngsters found involved in criminal activities towards the correct direction for introspection and improvement. This juvenile home, however, was pushing these youngsters towards crime-oriented activities by treating them in a grossly negligent and cruel manner.“We found allegations against Chandra to be true. So, we have suspended him of his duties,” a senior official said.The affairs inside the juvenile home, located in the Old Court building in Noida’s Phase 2, came to light after a District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) inspection on October 7, in which the authority noted several serious issues, such as torture, extortion by senior inmates, and skin problems among the juveniles.During inspection, the inmates showed their injury marks and named seven “seniors” who were in cahoots with certain officials of the Home.

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BJP chief Amit Shah in poll-bound Karnataka tomorrow

BJP chief Amit Shah will spend the last day of this year in poll-bound Karnataka, strategising with state party leaders, as they gear up to take on the ruling Congress in the Assembly election next year.A party statement said Shah will first hold a meeting with all BJP MPs and MLAs in the state followed by a deliberation with the in-charges of all its assembly constituencies.He will also chair meetings with the state’s core group leaders, district presidents of the party and in-charges among others.The BJP is aiming to dislodge the Congress from the only big state, which sends 20 or more MPs to the Lok Sabha, it remains in power. The 224-seat assembly is likely to go to polls in May next year.The Congress had captured power in the southern state in the last Assembly polls dethroning the BJP which was hit hard by a rebellion by B S Yeddyurappa, who had floated a party.Yeddyurappa is back in the saffron fold and has been declared the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate. The Congress campaign is being led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.The Congress and the BJP had won 122 and 40 seats respectively in the last assembly polls.Since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah have got the better of the Congress a number of assembly elections.However, the Congress hopes to do well in Karnataka after putting up a spirited fight against the BJP in Gujarat.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
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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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Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
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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

Lucknow madrasa shocker: Police rescues 51 girls who were being sexually exploited by manager

After raids on Baba Virendra Dev Dixit Ashram, the Uttar Pradesh Police raided a madrasa in Lucknow on Friday and rescued about 51 girls who were allegedly being sexually exploited by the madrasa manager.On a complaint lodged by girls held hostage at the madrasa and later by its owner Syed Mohd Jilani Ashraf, the police raided the Madrasa Khadiztul Kubra Lilbanat in Shaadatganj area and rescued 51 girls nabbing the manager Taiyyab Zia Ashrafi.Residents of the area claimed that a few girls, who were held hostage at the madrasa, had somehow managed to throw letters from the windows of the madrasa sharing their horrible tales and seeking help from the people and the police to rescue them. “We had handed over those letters to the police which raided the premises and rescued girls studying at the madrasa hostel,” said Irfan,a resident of the area.Also readBaba Virendra Dev Dixit’s UP ashrams raided, 53 women recoveredWhen the issue was brought to the knowledge of the madrasa owner Syed Mohd Jilani Ashraf, he also lodged a complaint with the Saadatganj Police against the madrasa manager Taiyyab Zia Ashrafi. The owner said that he had given the building to Ashrafi for running the madrasa. Later on, he turned it into a hostel giving admissions to girls only.Rescued girls told the police and parents that they were molested and sexually exploited by the madrasa manager Taiyyab Zia Ashrafi. “He would ask us to massage him and dance to the tunes of vulgar numbers at nights. We were sexually assaulted and beaten when we refused to carry out his orders,” girls told the police and the parents.The SSP Lucknow Deepak Kumar said that he had got complaints about girls being held hostage at the madrasa. “We acted on the complaints and raided the madrasa. About 51 girls were rescued and madrasa manager was arrested. ,” said the SSP.The police have recorded statements of the victims and an FIR has been lodged against the madrasa manager. A total of 125 girls were registered as students at the madrasa. The police is contacting their parents to know their whereabouts. The rescued girls have been sent to the Nari Niketan.A few days ago, the Uttar Pradesh police had raided two Ashrams of Baba Viredra Dev in Farrukhabad district and had recovered about 54 girls, including three from Nepal.

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Kamala Mills Fire: Did 1 Above have the right fire NOC?

Did 1 Above, the epicentre of Kamala Mills Fire, possess a no-objection certificate from the Mumbai Fire Brigade? The company is unable to prove it did, despite claiming otherwise.The pub, 1 Above is registered under ‘M/s Sigrid Ospitalita & Entertainment LLP’, in its statement post-incident stated that “all it’s fire safety regulations, licenses, procedures and norms (are) in place,” but when asked to substantiate their claims, they were unable to produce either NOC from the fire department, thereby raising doubts if it really had the mandatory approvals to operate a restobar.DNA sought copy of clearances, certificates and NOC for 1Above, but in response it shared fire department’s NOC for its another outlet at Bandra Kurla Complex registered under a different firm called M/s Flavour Pot Foods LLP.When specifically asked if it used Bandra Kurla Complex’s Fire NOC to operate its Kamala Mill joint, it did not respond to the question.For it’s Lower Parel’s establishment — 1 Above or Sigrid Ospitalita & Entertainment LLP, it produced clearances or NOC copies from Food & Drug Administration (FDA), civic body’s Health Department and Establishment Certificates, but not from other authorities including fire and excise departments.Though the spokesperson of 1 Above assured that they would share a copy of the fire NOC, till the time this newspaper went to print, no document had been offered.When Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale was asked about issuance of fire NOC, he replied, “We are investigating three aspects into the incident, first, if NOC was issued or not, second, did the eatery comply to NOC norms and who is responsible to ensure that fire norms are complied with.”On the same question, Deputy Fire Officer Hemant Parab told, “I haven’t seen fire NOC as of now, so cannot comment if it was issued to 1 Above or not.”Burning questionsWhen asked to substantiate their claims, they were unable to produce either NOC from the fire department, thereby raising doubts if it really had the mandatory approvals to operate a restobar. The pub then shared fire department’s NOC for its another outlet at Bandra Kurla Complex registered under a different firm called M/s Flavour Pot Foods LLP. For it’s Lower Parel’s establishment, it produced clearances or NOC copies from Food & Drug Administration, but not from other authorities including fire and excise departments

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India elephant rescue: The forest guard who saved a calf

Palanichamy Sarathkumar is a hero after lifting a calf out of a ditch and reuniting it with its mother.

No. of juveniles nabbed rose by 6.7% in ’16

The increase in the number of juveniles apprehended in 2016 compared to the year before has come as a cause for concern for the authorities. The Minister of State for Women and Child Development is pushing for various measures be taken to bring into the mainstream these children in conflict with law. In 2016, there was a 6.73 per cent rise in the apprehension rate of juveniles compared to 2015, the year which saw a dip in arrests of juveniles from 2014.The Minister of State for Women and Child Development Virendra Kumar, in reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, said a total of 1,33,784 cases of juveniles apprehended were reported during 2014-2016. The minister further stated that as per National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), the new cases of juveniles apprehended during 2014, 2015 and 2016 are 48,228, 41,385, 44,171 respectively.It shows a mixed trend with a decline of 14 per cent in 2015 from 2014 and an increase of 6.73 per cent in 2016 over 2015.The minister also stated that the new Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 includes special provisions to address heinous offences committed by teenagers above the age of 16.

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Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
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Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
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Every month, 150 male passengers barge into women Metro coaches

Every month, more than 150 male passengers, who had barged into the women’s coach of the Delhi Metro, were pulled out and fined by ‘Kaali’ – a special CISF women commando group. Senior officials said that the numbers are a result of special drives undertaken to keep away the nuisance created by men in women coaches.According to a data, in all the incidents, 1,941 men were caught in 2017 for violating women’s safety norms in Metro that zeroes down to more than 160 a month.”Kaali is a women commando group that specialises in unarmed combat. They are trained in multi-martial arts and can easily take down their opponent in closed spaces like a Metro. When it was noticed that the menace of men travelling in women coaches is increasing, Kaali was given the job to keep an eye on such men, pull them out of the coaches and slap an applicable fine on them through the station controllers,” said Hemendra Singh, AIG and PRO, CISF.Throughout 2017, more than 150 such special drives were undertaken by Kaali, in which they caught 1,941 men, travelling in the women’s coaches. These women work in teams and even board Metro trains in civil dresses to keep watch on miscreants.”It has been noticed that often during late hours, seeing women coaches not very crowded, men board these coaches, to which women object, leading to altercations. Kaali often makes surprise visits to women coaches. They often deal with those creating brawl after drinking or with the men who try to flout norms. When required, the Delhi Metro Rail Police is also roped in for legal action,” Singh said, adding that this is a step to ensure the safety of women in Metro.BIG NUMBERSAccording to a data, in all the incidents, 1,941 men were caught in 2017 for violating women’s safety norms in Metro that zeroes down to more than 160 a month.

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Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
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Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
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Vasundhara Raje briefs officials ahead of PM Modi visit

At Pachpadra, where the refinery will be set up, the construction of the boundary wall is under way. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 29 December 2017 1:57 ISTMust readJaipur-Agra Shatabdi to improvise under project ‘Swarna’In Ajmer, Congress playing waiting game<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Barmer where he is expected to lay the foundation stone of a refinery-and-petrochemical complex on January 14, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting with top officials including chief secretary Ashok Jain and DGP OP Galhotra at Alsisar Haveli hotel here. The CM instructed the officials to make foolproof arrangements for the PM’s visit, as the government intends to make it a grand event, like the Udaipur even in August when Modi laid the foundation stones of infra projects worth Rs 15,000 crore. As bypolls in three seats in the state approach, the PM’s visit is politically important. Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan will be present on the occasion. A team of top officials may also visit the venue in the first week of January.At Pachpadra, where the refinery will be set up, the construction of the boundary wall is under way.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
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Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
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Once again, monkeys are dubbed ‘vermin’ in Himachal Pradesh

The Centre has once again declared rhesus macaque monkeys as ‘vermin’ in ten districts of Himachal Pradesh, thus allowing the state forest department to cull them for preventing crop loss, conflict with humans, and property loss. The fresh notification, brought out by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), will be valid for an year and will be applicable only in non-forest areas.MoEF&CC had issued a similar notification in May 2016 that expired after one year. Himachal Pradesh forest department, though, did not cull a single monkey between 2016 and 2017, its senior officials told DNA. In Bihar and Uttarakhand, too, they had issued similar notifications, declaring nilgai and wild boars as vermins in the respective states.After the 2016 notification became void, Virbhadra Singh-led government sent a fresh proposal to the environment ministry seeking to declare monkeys as vermin again. The proposal was accepted after due appraisal, a ministry official said. The issue of crop losses caused by monkeys was also poll issue in the recent assembly elections. In their electoral campaigns both the Congress and the BJP had promised farmers of appropriate action.”We have issued a fresh notification, it is not an extension of the old one. Apart from Himachal Pradesh, Bihar had also sought renewal of the notification to declare Nilgai as vermin but their proposal has not been accepted. They are yet to provide impact studies. Uttarakhand has not sought any order to declare wild boars as vermin again,” said a senior ministry official on the condition of anonymity.When asked as to why the state government sought a fresh notification when no monkey was culled, GS Goraya, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Head of Forest Force, Himachal Pradesh, said, “Though we did not cull any monkey, we reached out to farmers to create awareness and have succeeded to an extent in curbing the solid waste issue. Open dumping of food waste is the main attraction for monkeys.” He added, “Culling is also difficult as religious sentiments are attached with monkeys. Unless any Panchayat passed a resolution to cull monkeys, we do not want to cull them.”According to Goraya, of the total population of 2.5 lakh around 1.26 lakh monkeys have been sterilized since 2006, of which 50 per cent are females.Animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi who had moved Supreme Court against the earlier orders of Centre, said, “Conflict with wild animals is a direct result of mismanagement of forests. The forest department has waste tens of crores of public funds on counterproductive sterilization and now they they want to kill the same sterilized monkeys.”ELSEWHEREIn Bihar and Uttarakhand, too, MoEF&CC had issued similar notifications, declaring nilgai and wild boars as vermin in the respective states.

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BJP moves privilege motion against Rahul Gandhi over ‘Jaitlie’ remark

Irked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s tweet twisting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s name as ‘Jaitlie’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) moved a privilege motion against him in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.BJP member Bhupender Yadav took up the issue soon after the House endorsed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s statement on Kulbhushan Jadhav.Moving the motion under Rule 187, Yadav urged Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu to take notice of the alleged breach of Jaitley’s privilege, who is also the Leader of the House.”All the members of this House have dignity. The name of Leader of the House Arun Jaitley has been intentionally published by the Congress president with malafide intentions to defame this House,” Yadav said.”The way the name of Leader of the House has been tweeted by the Congress president, it comes in the category of (breach of) privilege. There are precedents such as that of NC Chatterjee in 1954. I request you to go to this precedent and issue notice to Rahul Gandhi,” Yadav said.Naidu said he would take a view after examining the motion.Referring to Jaitley’s statement on Wednesday that led to end the week-long logjam in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, “Dear Mr Jaitlie (sic) – thank you for reminding India that our PM never means what he says or says what he means.”In his statement Jaitley had clarified Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s position vis-à-vis his ‘conspiring with Pakistan’ comments made during Gujarat campaign against his predecessor Manmohan Singh.”The statement (by Modi) did not question nor did he mean to question the commitment to the nation of Manmohan Singh or Hamid Ansari, the former vice president. Any such perception is completely erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem as also their commitment to the nation,” Jaitley had said.The finance minister made the statement as part of an understanding with the Congress party reached after several rounds of back channel parleys, that had led to continues stalling of the Rajya Sabha and disruptions in Lok Sabha for several days.The Congress also reciprocated by disapproving Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “Neech” comment regarding PM Modi.TWEET GONE WRONG?Rahul Gandhi had tweeted hitting at Arun Jaitley over his clarification of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment against former PM Manmohan Singh.

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60% school buses don’t follow norms

More than 1,000 schools in the city have their own school buses. The School Bus Owners Associations (SBOA) have alleged that around 60 per cent of the school buses don’t follow the government norms of school bus safety for school children. The SBOA has threatened the transport department to go on strike from JANUARY 20th if they don’t do away with illegal vans that ferry school children beyond their seating capacities.The SBOA wrote a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stating how the school bus owners are incurring losses because of the illegal vans which are transporting children at low fare, thereby impacting their business negatively. The association has urged the transport department to take action against all school buses that have made no agreement with the schools. The association also wants the transport department to pull up vehicles like jeep, mini bus, tempo traveler and Omni, which are functioning without the permission of the schools.Anil Garg, President of SBOA, Maharashtra, said, “Several vans are ferrying without permits. They carry students inside the van beyond its seating capacity. The 11,000 vans that are given permit by transport department are illegally carrying children above 12-year-old, which is not allowed as per the rule of the transport department. There are around 40,000 mini vans that are illegally ferrying school children. We will protest if these vans are not stopped in Mumbai and Maharashtra.”SCHOOL BUSES40,000 in Maharashtra10,000 in Mumbai

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Fadnavis govt offers cash incentives to Maharashtra cities that perform well in Swachh Bharat rankings

After discouraging performance in the ‘Swachh Survekshan’ or cleanliness survey last year, Maharashtra government has decided to offer cash incentives to rank holder cities in clean city initiative. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has proposed to give incentive to municipal corporations and local bodies for scoring a good place in the Swachh City rankings.The state government would be offering incentives to cities from the state which would secure place in the first 50 clean cities. Last year, Navi Mumbai was on rank 8 and it was the only city from Maharashtra in the list of ten cities at the national level. The second dirtiest city was Bhusawal from Maharashtra , after Gonda in Uttar Pradesh last year. Mumbai’s position dropped to 29 in 2017 from 10 in 2016. These rankings are a part of the Swachh Bharat initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday reviewed Maharashtra’s preparedness for the survey which would start in January and is conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI). Fadnavis has announced a prize money of Rs 20 crore to the cities that are covered under the scheme Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Rs 15 crore for cities securing a rank from 4 to 10. For cities like Mumbai which are not part of AMRUT scheme, the three toppers would win Rs 15 crore, top 10 would get Rs 10 crore and cities securing rank between 11 and 50 would get Rs 5 crore as incentive.Fadnavis has also announced a ‘Swachh Ward,’ or clean ward competition and said that a third party survey for all Municipal corporations in the state would be conducted between January and February 2018. The first three wards of ‘A’ and ‘B’ category corporations would be given Rs 30 lakhs, Rs.20 lakhs and Rs.15 lakhs, respectively and ward from the C and D corporations would get Rs.50 lakhs, 30 lakhs and 20 lakhs and wards of ‘C’ and ‘D’ category corporations respectively.This would be the third survey to be conducted in 2018, first was conducted in 2016.The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is the nodal ministry for the QCI. They have covered 434 cities and towns with a population of 1 lakh and above. The survey aims at capturing the outcomes of ongoing efforts to stop open defecation in urban areas and to improve the door-to-door collection, processing and disposal of Municipal Solid Waste.

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Noida: 26-year-old woman found dead in Chhijarsi colony

A 26-year-old woman was found killed at her home in the Chhijarsi colony here on Thursday afternoon, police said.Noida Phase 3 police station incharge Jitendra Kumar said that on Thursday afternoon police got information about the killing.A police team went there and the body was sent for post mortem, he said.”The body had injuries. It appears to be a case of murder. The deceased was identified as Shweta,” the official said.Her husband Pankaj works in a factory and the couple had a 4-year-old child, he added.Also readTwo cops suspended over security breach during PM Modi’s Noida visit “Pankaj had gone to the factory and when he called his wife in the afternoon there was no response. He then called a neighbour who went there and found her lying in pool of blood,” Kumar said.Further investigations are on and some neighbour’s involvement was suspected, he added.

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Two cops suspended over security breach during PM Modi’s Noida visit

Two policemen, who were in-charge of piloting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade during his visit to the city on December 25, have been suspended for taking the convoy on a wrong route and causing a security breach.SSP Love Kumar has suspended the two policemen for the security lapse. The suspended policemen are Sub Inspector Dilip Singh and police driver Jaipal. They were in the vehicle ahead to lead the prime minister’s motorcade, PRO in the SSP’s office Manish Saxena said.The two policemen took a wrong turn as a result of which the prime minister’s cavalcade was caught in traffic for two minutes near Mahamaya Flyover. Traffic policemen then rushed and cleared the route for smooth passage.Several rehearsals of the route were conducted before the visit. The route was through second cut and the first cut was barricaded.Also readPM Narendra Modi inaugurates much-awaited Magenta Line of Delhi MetroSenior IPS officer Nitin Tiwari was in charge of the traffic plan and subsequent arrangements for the prime minister s cavalcade and other VIP movement.Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had sought explanation from the officials about the security breach and sought a detailed report of lapse and action.Also readDMRC’s Magenta line: New metro to cut off travel time to 45 minutes from Noida to South DelhiThe report has been sent to the ADG and the commissioner.The prime minister was in Noida on Christmas to inaugurate the Botanical Garden-Kalkaji line of the Metro.

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

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

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Cong city chief writes to CM Devendra Fadnavis over Metro mess

The Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president Sanjay Nirupam has appealed to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to convene an all-party meeting to discuss huge traffic snarls caused by the ongoing construction of the Metro line between DN Nagar and Dahisar. In a letter to Fadnavis, the city Congress chief said that he was not against the work being carried out which will to improve Mumbai’s infrastructure but hourly traffic snarls along the entire stretch have elongated a simple 30-40 minutes journey to a two-and-a-half hour ordeal.Nirupam said the traffic has also jacked up commuting cost in areas seeing maximum congestion. These include Infinity Mall, Inorbit Mall Meeth Chowki, Goregaon, Charkop and Borivali West. Double parking adds to the woes, he noted, adding, “The traffic police is not taking any action to solve this problem.”Nirupam said due to ongoing construction it has become impossible for residents to manage even a good night’s sleep. He iterated that the CM needs to convene meeting with representatives of all political parties and officers from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, traffic police and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority to ensure a comprehensive solution to end these problems.

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Jai Ram Thakur now part of NextGen Saffron

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

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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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ED seizes Rs 26 crore assets of arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today said it has seized assets worth Rs 26.61 crore of controversial arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari and others for alleged violation of the FEMA law.It said it has seized the properties “in lieu of undisclosed assets held abroad by him” and the action has been carried out under section 37A of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).Section 37A of the FEMA stipulates that if certain foreign exchange, foreign security or immovable property is held outside India in violation of this law, the equivalent value of asset can be seized within India. The ED had booked Bhandari, reported to have left India for a foreign location sometime ago, under criminal charges of the PMLA law in February this year as also under the FEMA.The Delhi Police had also booked him for alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) last year. Bhandari’s case first came to light after the I-T department conducted searches against him in April last year and recovered certain “sensitive” official defence documents from his premises. As part of these raids, the taxman is also said to have recovered certain emails that talk about renovation of a costly apartment in London in 2010 which was allegedly owned by Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi.Also readED attaches assets Rs. 21 crore of arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari case in black money caseVadra’s legal firm has denied that he owned the London property directly or indirectly. It also denied Vadra has any business ties with an arms consultant or his aides. The tax department had last year also shared a “seizure memo record” with the defence ministry to apprise it about the contents of these “sensitive” documents.

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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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Caste to starcast in bypoll flicks

Die has been cast for by-polls in two Lok Sabha and one assembly constituenciy. Congress has declared its candidate for Alwar while the BJP will declare name of its candidate soon. The party is working on getting caste equation right. BJP’s Kisan Morcha has asked for the ticket.Whether Alwar or Ajmer, both parties are concentrating on caste factors. All talks of contesting election on the issue of development is mere propaganda, the bitter reality is that both the parties are relying on caste arithmetic to select candidates. Congress has chosen Dr Karan Singh Yadav with an eye on Yadav community and the BJP too is seriously mulling over fielding a Yadav candidate.Even Ajmer, where caste is usually not a major influencing factor, this time expected to play a key role in deciding candidates. BJP is said to be thinking of fielding a Jat. Its Kisan Morcha has asked for fielding candidate from farming community in both the places.On Mandalgarh assembly seat, the ruling party may field a Rajput. Some of the names doing rounds are Shakti singh, Badri Guruji, Bhagwan Singh, Harshita Kumari and wife of Ghanshyam Singh. Here, Dhakar, Rajput, Brahmin, Dalit, Gurjar and Muslim are predominant castes.So far, the buzz is that the BJP can field a Rajput in Mandalgarh, Jat in Ajmer and Yadav in Alwar.BJP Panel in AlwarBaba BalaknathDr Jaswant Yadav/ Kiran YadavSanjay SharmaBJP Ajmer PanelRamswaroop LambaRamchandra ChoudharyCharan ChoudharyB P Saraswat

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Saurabh Patel back in ministry, likely to get key role

Saurabh Patel, the suave and urban face of the state government until not too long ago, is back in the thick of things. He was among the nine Cabinet ministers who were sworn-in along with chief minister Vijay Rupani and ten other ministers of state on Tuesday.The 59-year-old US-educated Patel was a fixture in the Narendra Modi government since 2002. He was minister of state for finance, energy, planning, civil aviation, industries and other key departments for a very long time.One of the visible ministers in the government, Patel was promoted to Cabinet rank when Modi came back to power in 2012 and was entrusted with energy, planning, tourism, civil aviation and other ministries. He was seen as a key link between the government and industry.Patel, whose wife Ila is a cousin of Mukesh and Anil Ambani, was appointed as finance minister in May 2014 when Anandiben Patel took over as the chief minister after Modi’s elevation as prime minister. He also held energy and other important departments.However, Patel was surprisingly dropped from the ministry when Vijay Rupani took over as the chief minister in August last year after Anandiben’s abrupt resignation.His sacking from the cabinet was attributed to controversies over various PSUs allegedly extending favours to companies linked with him. It was also believed that he had fallen out of favour with BJP president Amit Shah.Patel, who had contested from Akota seat in Vadodara in 2012, was fielded from Botad, his traditional seat, in 2017 elections. He, however, just scraped through, winning with a narrow margin of 906 votes against Congress candidate DM Patel. He is expected to be given important responsibilities, especially looking at the 2019 Vibrant Gujarat Summit, which is just a little over a year away.

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Fast courts off track?

It has been five years since Nirbhaya gang rape stirred the nation, following which the victim’s mother demanded creation of fast-track courts and a law to hang juveniles in heinous crimes. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the state governments vide his letter dated April 23, 2015 to allocate funds for this activity, it is shocking that at present there is not a single fast-track court functional in the state.On the contrary the 83 functional fast-track courts in the year 2005 have been reduced to zero now.A total of 83 FTCs were approved in the year 2000, following the report of the 11th Finance Commission. Out of these, all were functional till 2011, the year when this experimental scheme was supposed to end. The central government in 2005, decided to continue its support for the next 6 years (till 2011).This is also the year when the central government stopped financial support to the FTCs, after that the states were supposed to continue FTCs with expenses met from their own funds. The 14th Finance Commission has also endorsed the proposal of establishing 1,800 FTCs for a period of five years for cases of heinous crimes; cases involving senior citizens, women, children, disabled and litigants affected with HIV AIDS and other terminal ailments and civil disputes involving land acquisition and property/rent disputes pending for more than five years at a cost of Rs 4,144 crore. The 14th finance commission has allocated 214 crore rupees to Rajasthan government for the establishment of fast track court.Pendency of casesAccording to government data till December 2016, more than 14 lakh cases are pending across all the courts in the state. As per an estimate close to 2/3rd of these cases are more than 3-years old and more than 2/3rd of these cases are pending in the district & sub-ordinate courts. ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’ is used whenever there is an undue delay in disposal of cases.Prime Minister’s appealThe Prime Minister vide his letter dated 23rd April 2015 urged the state governments to allocate funds for the activities mentioned in the 14th FC recommendations from their state budget from 2015-16 onwards. This issue was also discussed in the CM/CJ Conference on the 05th April 2015 and 24th April 2016, wherein it was resolved to strengthen the existing coordination and monitoring mechanism between the state government and the Judiciary for effective implementation of the recommendations of the 14th FC. The Minister of Law and Justice has further urged all the Chief Ministers of the States and the Chief Justices of the High Courts to implement the resolution of the Conference vide letters dated 03rd June 2015, 26th September 2016 and 2nd May 2017 respectively.Supreme Court’s takeIn its judgment in the Brij Mohan Lal case, the Supreme Court has endorsed the position of the Central Government and held that the continuation of FTCs is within the domain of the states with their own funds.Purpose of fast-track courtsFast track courts are meant to expeditiously clear the colossal scale of pendency in the district and subordinate courts under a time-bound programme. A laudable objective of the five-year experimental scheme is to take up sessions and other cases involving undertrials on top priority.

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Vijay Rupani-Nitin Patel 2.0

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

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Secularism was in DNA of Indians much before it was enshrined in constitution: Venkaiah Naidu

Praising the Parsi community for its contribution towards the nation building and the country’s economy, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said secularism was in the DNA of every Indian much before it was enshrined in the Constitution.Naidu was addressing the members of the Parsi community at the concluding ceremony of the three-day Iranshah Utsav at Udvada in Valsad district of Gujarat, about 200 kms from here yesterday.”‘Sarva dharma sama bhava’ (equality of all religions) epitomises India’s secular ethos. India is a land of diverse cultures and religions. Secularism was in the DNA of every Indian much before it was enshrined in the Constitution,” he said. “The values of tolerance and respect for all religions have been part of the Indian ethos from time immemorial.Unless there is social cohesion, communal harmony and religious tolerance, the progress and development of the country will suffer,” Naidu added. The contribution of the Parsi community in the economy of the country is significant, which is why India’s economy ranks third in the world now, he claimed. He also lauded the community for making “invaluable contribution” towards the nation building and in diverse fields.Also readYoga does not have a religious connotation: Venkaiah Naidu”Freedom fighter Dadabhai Naoroji, industrialist JRD Tata, nuclear scientist Homi Bhabha, music conductor Zubin Mehta are a few among the several stalwarts, who contributed towards India’s growth and glory,” Naidu said. “Although Parsi community represents a minuscule portion of our total population, the contribution made by them in the overall economic development of the country has always remained in the forefront,” he added. According to Naidu, the government would endeavour to make Udvada a global destination for tourism.Udvada Utsav, which started in 2015 on the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, showcases the glorious history of Parsis over 1,300 years. Vada Dasturji Khurshed K Dastoor, high priest of Iranshah Atash Behram, Udvada and member of National Commission for Minorities, said, “Shreeji Pak Iranshah (Atashbehram) is the link between the past and present times of the Parsi community. It is the witness to the religious pride of our illustrious forefathers and proof of inspiration for younger generation.”

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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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No decision taken on Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to UPA President: Moily

Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily has said that no decision has been taken on whether Sonia Gandhi would continue to occupy the position of UPA chairperson or make way for new party president Rahul Gandhi.Moily acknowledged there are calls for her continuation in the position, but said Rahul Gandhi, who assumed charge as the Congress president earlier this month, is also capable of holding the post.”Rahul Gandhi is also capable,” the former Union minister told PTI yesterday.The decision on the UPA’s chairmanship has not yet been taken and “it is left to them (Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi),” he said.Ever since Sonia Gandhi stepped down as the Congress president, there was speculation whether Rahul Gandhi would assume charge of the UPA chairperson or she would continue in the position.Asked if it would “help” if Sonia Gandhi continued to be the UPA chairperson, Moily declined to comment and said, “Ultimately, it’s between them (Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi); they will have to take a call.”He said Sonia Gandhi has “managed the party very well” during her 19-year tenure as the Congress president, adding that “she has to continue to be active in providing advice and, while running the party by Rahulji, she has to be behind him always.”She should continue to be a part of the decision- making process and her “wise counsel” should always prevail on the Congress, the former chief minister of Karnataka said.On TMC leader Derek O’Brien’s statement that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has the “finest credentials” to take on the BJP in 2019, Moily said it’s not an “objective” assessment.He argued that ever since Sonia Gandhi became the party president and also the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), she has provided “best leadership” for the party and also the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).”Most of the coalition partners…Including the Left…TMC…Everybody joined. That kind of leadership should be holistic, comprehensive and it should be inspiring,” Moily said.”That kind of inspiring leadership in the country… inspiring coalition was done under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi,” he said.”Even now, she should continue to play that effective role. That’s why people say that she has to continue as the CLP leader, the chairman of the coordination committee and also the coalition (UPA),” he further said.On O’Brien’s remark that if the anti-BJP forces come together, they can defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 elections, Moily said it’s possible.”It has been proved. Even the TMC was a part of our (Congress-led UPA) government, the Left parties also supported…Even the SP, Mayawati supported us. There is a history. The anti-BJP forces always united under the inspiring and dynamic leadership of Sonia Gandhi,” he said.

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Vijay Rupani begins second inning as Gujarat CM; PM Modi, Amit Shah attend grand ceremony: 10 updates

Vijay Rupani will begin his second inning as Gujarat Chief Minister at a grand swearing-in ceremony in capital city Gandhinagar on Tuesday.The lavish event, which is being organised at Gandhinagar Sachivalaya Ground, will see host of VVIP guests including 18 BJP Chief Ministers, party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Here are 10 major updates from this big political story:1: Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, Rupani visited Gandhinagar’s Panchdev temple and Akshardham temple in morning.2: According to sources, Rupani has dropped three ministers from his previous cabinet. They are: Babu Bokhiria, former water supplies and animal husbandry minister; Vallabh Kakadia, former minister of state for transport and Rajendra Trivedi, former minister of state for youth services and cultural affairs.3: Officials said that a huge 2,500 square metres dome — which can accommodate 10,000 people — has been booked and prepared for the ceremony.4: Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh and Ram Vilas Paswan and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are also attending the ceremony.5: Security has been tightened at Ahmedabad Airport, which will see a lot of VVIP movement, as well as in Gandhinagar.6: Entry of private vehicles has been restricted in the Sachivalaya due to the swearing-in ceremony.7: Before leaving for Delhi, PM Modi is scheduled for a lunch with the new council of ministers and visiting dignitaries at Mahatma Mandir in the afternoon.8: A Cabinet meeting is also slated in the afternoon, where newly-inducted ministers will be allocated portfolios.9: This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP is forming government in Gujarat, but this time with the lowest seat tally.10: 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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49 girls saved from Delhi baba ashrams

In fresh raids at self-proclaimed godman Virendra Dev Dixit’s ashrams in Northeast Delhi’s Karawal Nagar by Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), three more minors and as many adults or ‘matas’ were rescued. This took the number of minors rescued so far to 49. Ten adults were found at an ashram West Delhi’s Nangloi.Soon after PILs were filed by Foundation for Social Empowerment, DCW, with the help of Delhi Police and locals, started raids at eight ashrams in Delhi. Five of these, including those in Vijay Nagar, Dwarka, and Palam, Karawal Nagar and Nangloi have been raided since Friday.At Karawal Nagar, a DCW team and Ajay Verma, advocate appointed as amicus curiae by the High Court, discovered that all gates and doors were locked.”It appears that Baba is running a human trafficking racket. CBI should urgently and simultaneously conduct raids at all ashrams of Baba across India and close them down,” said Swati Maliwal, DCW Chief.”Baba is getting time for a cover up. All women and girls should be immediately rescued. The teachings of Baba are irrational and evil.”Locals in Karawal Nagar and Nangloi said that many girls were moved out just before the raids. Neighbours said that they saw cars filled with girls being taken to other locations, but matas at both locations called DCW allegations wrong and said that they have been living comfortably and do not wish to be removed.The minors refused to give any information about themselves. DCW said the girls have been brain-washed and need counselling.

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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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BJP outgained Congress for upper hand in Central Gujarat

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

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17 trains cancelled, 26 disrupted by fog

According to a Northern Railway spokesperson, around 6 am, 17 trains including Gomti Express, Amritsar-New Delhi Express, Jammu-Tavi Express and Sadhbhavna Express stood cancelled, 26 arrived late and six others had to be rescheduled due to poor visibility. The high pollution has added to the fog, forcing the railways, which is already facing bad publicity due to the high accident rate, to take preemptive measures.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 26 December 2017 2:28 ISTMust readYogi Adityanath meets distressed homebuyers, promises quick actionDelhi Metro’s Magenta Line to be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi today<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The fog enveloping the national capital and its surrounding regions disrupted railways schedule on Monday with a spate of cancellations and delays.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>According to a Northern Railway spokesperson, around 6 am, 17 trains including Gomti Express, Amritsar-New Delhi Express, Jammu-Tavi Express and Sadhbhavna Express stood cancelled, 26 arrived late and six others had to be rescheduled due to poor visibility. The high pollution has added to the fog, forcing the railways, which is already facing bad publicity due to the high accident rate, to take preemptive measures.

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Experts blame low temp for ‘poor’ AQI

Mumbai’s Air Quality Index (AQI) continues to remain a cause of worry for citizens as on Monday the overall AQI for the city was reported to be 257. As per System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) an AQI between 200 to 300 is rated in the ‘poor’ category and is known to cause respiratory-related allergies.In fact as per air quality experts from SAFAR, on Monday AQI of PM2.5, which is the smallest size pollutant known to cause respiratory illnesses and worsens the condition of those suffering from ailments like asthma and bronchitis in the four centers including Borivili, BKC, Andheri and Mazgaon reported ‘Very Poor’ air quality. Bandra Kurla Complex (332) topped the list followed by Borivili (325) Andheri (322) and Mazgaon (313). The safe limit as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for PM2.5 is 60 µg/m3 for 24 hoursWhile air quality experts blamed lower temperatures in Mumbai, they also said that the haze-like condition was due to the high difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures. “Several parts especially central Mumbai are facing haze-like conditions throughout the day due to the lower temperature early in the morning while the dust particles get stuck to the moisture and remain in the air throughout the day,” said an official.On Monday, the minimum temperature in Mumbai was recorded at Santacruz, which was 16.5 degree Celsius while the maximum temperature was also at Santacruz which was recorded as 32.4 degree Celsius.

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

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

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Don’t want to say anything political on X-Mas, says Kejriwal; retweets Sisodia’s tweet on Delhi Metro inauguration

Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s tweet on Arvind Kejriwal not being invited for the inauguration of Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line was retweeted by the Delhi Chief Minister, although he had earlier said he would not make any political comments on Christmas.Kejriwal was not invited to the launch of Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line out of the fear that he might publicly demand a rollback of the fare hike, his deputy Manish Sisodia said today.He also said that not inviting the chief minister to the inauguration programme at Noida was an “insult” to the people of Delhi.Sisodia’s observations came minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 12.38-km stretch of the Magenta Line, between the Kalkaji Mandir and Botanical Garden metro stations, in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.”Not calling the Delhi chief minister in an inauguration of a Delhi Metro project is an insult of the people of Delhi.There’s only one reason behind not inviting Kejriwal, the fear that he may urge the prime minister to roll back the fare hike (sic),” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader tweeted.Of the nine stations on the Magenta Line, seven are within the boundaries of Delhi, while the remaining two are in Noida.Those who had hiked the metro fares were “scared” of the AAP supremo, Sisodia said.Almost on cue, AAP leaders and volunteers started tweeting with #TakeCreditButReduceFare.When reporters asked Kejriwal for comments on the issue at a Christmas event in the city, the chief minister evaded a reply, saying the occasion was not right to talk about it.However, he retweeted Sisodia’s tweets.The Kejriwal government has been at loggerheads with the Centre and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) over the recent hike in the metro fares, despite the AAP’s objections. PTI SBR RC

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Faith is important but blind faith is not desirable: PM praises Yogi Adityanath for ignoring ‘Noida jinx’

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today came in for praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for shrugging off a superstition that any chief minister who visits Noida does not assume the high office again.Those who entertain such superstitions have no right to be the chief minister, Modi said here. Adityanath visited Noida twice in three days rubbishing a widely believed myth in UP’s political and bureaucratic circles that a chief minister visiting Noida would face problems retaining his or her post.Also readDelhi Metro’s Magenta line a milestone in Noida’s development, says Yogi AdityanathIn the city to inaugurate the Metro’s Magenta line, Modi pointed to the saffron robed Adityanath and said that looking at his dress, the CM appeared to be superstitious, but had actually shown that he had the courage to break superstitions. A priest-turned-politician, Adityanath, could be seen smiling as Modi lavished praise. The prime minister said that Noida was not the only place to which superstitions had attached themselves.Recalling his days as the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi said there were 6 to 7 places in the state where no chief minister went out of the fear that whoever does so would lose his seat. “I ignored this and visited all such places,” Modi said and pointing that he remained Gujarat CM for nearly 20 years. In the modern scientific world there is no place for superstition, the prime minister asserted.Significantly, Adityanath’s chief ministerial visits to Noida came eight years after the last by the then CM Mayawati. In the ensuing election Mayawati’s BSP lost and her successor Akhilesh Yadav did not vist Noida.Several chief ministers in the past have not visited Noida, something attributed to the “jinx” about the city.

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BJP leaders credit Mumbai AC train run to PM Narendra Modi’s ‘visionary mantra of vikas’

BJP leaders from the city on Monday attributed the inaugural run of the city’s first air-conditioned suburban service to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “visionary mantra of vikas”, calling it “vikas” in the “true sense”.”This is vikas (progress) in the true sense which is now underway and we are travelling in this grand train. It is a result of Modiji’s vision which lays emphasis on speedy execution of mass transportation projects. It’s a dream come true for Mumbaikars,” Vinod Tawde, senior BJP leader and minister in the Maharashtra government said.Tawde was present at the flagging off along with other BJP leaders such as MPs Kirit Somaiya and Gopal Shetty, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar and MLC Praveen Darekar.Shelar termed the development as “historical” and credited it to Modi’s mantra of governance which is committed to providing comfort to commuters.”This train is a bonanza to travellers and we hope such trains play a crucial role in minimising the number of cars on the roads and help solve traffic problems,” Shelar said.BJP MP Kirit Somaiya called it a historical day and said that credit went to PM Modi for getting the train on track after a wait of ten years.”In the coming 10 years, all rakes on the suburban system will have at least one air-conditioned coach,” he said.However ally and Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant rejected such talk and said that the credit of the train went to railway officials.He said, “The credit goes to railway officers and I have already congratulated them yesterday. Earlier, we stood like a pillar behind the BJP government, but they forget sometime.”Jubilant passengers and supporters of the BJP present at the occasion shouted slogans of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” with many attributing the choice of date as an ode to former PM and Bharat Ratna awardee Atal Bihari Vajpayee who is celebrating his 93rd birthday today.

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

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

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PM Narendra Modi inaugurates much-awaited Magenta Line of Delhi Metro

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the much-awaited Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro. The Delhi Metro’s magenta line will cut down the travel time from south Delhi to Noida to just 45 minutes. At present the metro takes around 52 minutes to commute on the mentioned route. Magenta line, a mainstay of Delhi Metro’s Phase-3, runs 12.64km section from Kalkaji Mandir-Botanical Garden. However, with the time, more metro trains will be added to Janakpuri West on this line. Currently on the Blue Line (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida City Centre), the station will now perform as a junction between Yellow and the upcoming Magenta Line (Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden). According to Delhi Metro, the Botanical Garden station will bear an interchange load of 97,780 passengers per day from the Yellow and Magenta lines, which is projected to increase up to 123,020 by 2021.The Botanical Garden-Kalkaji section will comprise of nine stations. Apart from Kalkaji Mandir, all other stations will be elevated.Also readHere’s why Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line will set new trends: 5 things you should know Launching a 12-km stretch of Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line here, he said governments incur a lot of cost in creating infrastructure but when it is ready it benefits generations to come. Addressing a public meeting, Modi said by 2022, when India celebrates its 75 years of Independence, he wants to cut down on imported petroleum products. He said a multi-modal transportation system will ensure that use of fuel is cut down, which will help the common man save money and also be useful for the environment.On December 24, 2002 then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a ride on the metro, Modi recalled. “It was a historic moment. Since then, the Metro network in NCR has expanded considerably,” he said. We live in an era in which connectivity is all important, the prime minister said. “Without connectivity, life comes to a standstill. This Metro… is not only for the present but also for future generations,” he said. There was need to change the mindset so that people prefer using public transport than their private vehicles. He said travelling on a metro should be a “prestige issue”.With agency inputs

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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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On launch eve, PM Modi hails Metro extension

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that the newly built Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro is an example of how urban transport is being modernised. He said the project will make travel between Delhi and Noida faster and more convenient.PM Modi will inaugurate a segment of the Magenta Line on Monday. It connects Botanical Garden station in Noida with south Delhi’s Kalkaji Mandir station.”This new line is yet another example of how we are modernising urban transportation. I will also travel on the Metro tomorrow (Monday). This year, I have had the opportunity to inaugurate and travel in the Kochi as well as Hyderabad Metros,” Modi tweeted.In another tweet, he said: “Great news for friends in the NCR! Tomorrow, a stretch of the new Magenta Line will be inaugurated…”

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Centre denies NDMA lacks direction

“It is not true. The NDMA is headed by the Prime Minister,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its response to the PIL. The ministry further informed a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar that the rules provide that the chairperson may designate one of the members to be the vice-chairman of the authority. “At present, there are four members in the NDMA,” the reply filed by the Centre stated, adding that “weekly meetings were held regularly.””
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Monday 25 December 2017 3:52 ISTMust readCops’ neighbourhood watch schemes failed to uncover sex racketYogi Adityanath meets distressed homebuyers, promises quick action<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Centre has refuted the claim made in a PIL that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) members were working on their own, without any direction and coordination, due to vacant posts.The bench was hearing a PIL by a lawyer who claimed that several key posts, including that of the vice-chairperson and secretary of NDMA, were lying vacant for the last two years.“It is not true. The NDMA is headed by the Prime Minister,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its response to the PIL. The ministry further informed a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar that the rules provide that the chairperson may designate one of the members to be the vice-chairman of the authority. “At present, there are four members in the NDMA,” the reply filed by the Centre stated, adding that “weekly meetings were held regularly.”

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Police, local bodies involved in Ashram activities: Residents

The tale of the Rohini-based Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya ashram got murkier on Sunday, with the locals claiming that the police and the local bodies were also involved in the exploitation of women and girls.They said that despite several complaints, the police failed to take any action against the ashram, and said it was impossible that the local bodies’ members didn’t know anything about the suspicious activities going inside the ashram.” We are sure that the local bodies are involved in running this ashram, where illegal activities had been taking place for so many years. Despite complaints and families of the victims shouting on the roads, the ashram authorities did not let them meet their daughters. Why was no action taken then? Why didn’t anybody raid the ashram?” asked Naresh Saini, a resident of Vijay Nagar in Rohini.Meanwhile, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has requested Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal to intervene and ensure safety of the girls who were recently rescued from the ashram, run by self-styled godman Virendra Dev Dikshit.He has also slammed the BJP government and alleged that a nexus between the police and certain BJP leaders was behind these activities in controversial ashrams. BJP has rejected all such allegations.Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the party followed Indian culture but respected all religions and spiritual leaders. “Trying to associate the party’s name with the ashram, however, is shameful. The party has no association with the ashram’s activities,” he said.Kejriwal tweeted: “I urge Hon’ble L-G to personally intervene and ensure strict action against the ashram and ensure safety of rescued girls. If any policeman acts malafide, strict action should be taken against him.”Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh demanded the arrest of Dixit. As many 46 girls have been rescued from two ashrams in Dwarka and Rohini. “The so-called godman has not been arrested and many of his ashrams are still unknown,” Singh said.

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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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Jai Ram Thakur is BJP’s Chosen One in Himachal

The BJP chose low-profile Seraj MLA Jai Ram Thakur as Himachal Pradesh’s next Chief Minister. He will be sworn in as the 13th CM of the hill state at the historic Ridge Maidan on Wednesday, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.The move also ends an old rivalry for the top post between upper and lower areas as Thakur comes from central Mandi district.Contrary to speculations that BJP’s central leadership may push Union Health Minister JP Nadda’s name in the wake of a bitter rift between former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and Thakur’s lobby, not a single slogan was shouted during the meeting of newly elected MLAs that took place in the presence of central observers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narender Singh Tomar at Hotel Peterhoff on Sunday.Thakur’s name was proposed by Dhumal and he was elected unanimously as the new leader after being seconded by Nadda and another two-time CM Shanta Kumar.Thakur is considered to be a soft-spoken and a solid organisation man. It was his influence in Mandi that helped the BJP bag nine out of the 10 Assembly seats from the area.Thakur, who will turn 53 on January 6, belongs to the Rajput community which has a significant presence in the hill state.He has won his 5th consecutive Assembly election from Seraj, earlier known as Chachiot in Mandi district, defeating Chet Ram of the Congress.Mandi is second only to Kangra that sends 15 MLAs to the Vidhan Sabha.Thakur’s dominance in his constituency could be judged from the fact that despite the remoteness and difficult topography, 56 out of 58 panchayats in Seraj constituency were connected by road even as there was a Congress government in the state.”We will try to meet the expectations of the people of Himachal Pradesh. Our dream of a Congress-free Himachal Pradesh has been realised,” Thakur said in his first remarks after being elected as new CM.He was always called CM in the waiting even during the last tenure of Dhumal till 2012.But this time around, he emerged as a favourite for the top post after the defeat of BJP’s chief ministerial face Dhumal from Sujanpur.Thakur served as rural development and panchayati raj minister in the Dhumal government from 2010 to 2012.The BJP ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 out of the 68 seats.With Dhumal’s key men already having lost the election and Nadda’s name not eliciting any warm response, Thakur with the complete backing of Shanta Kumar clinched the deal.The BJP has named a Thakur face its CM candidate at a time when, after losing polls, Congress’ Virbhadra Singh seems to have played out his last political innings. Nadda was a Brahmin, which is the second dominant community in Himachal Pradesh after Rajputs.

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

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

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Congress gears up for Madhya Pradesh polls, to start picking probable nominees from Jan 15

Although there is still a year to go for the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, the state unit of the Congress today said the party would start the exercise of identifying probable candidates from mid-January.The party said the leadership might give opportunity to fresh and young faces over the older ones this time.”We will start the candidate selection process for the next year’s assembly elections after January 15. The process of streamlining the organisational structure in the state would also be completed by the next month,” AICC general secretary and party in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, Deepak Babaria, told reporter here today.Madhya Pradesh assembly elections are scheduled to be held in November-December next year.”Initially, we will focus on 60-65 seats, where the party could not win in the past two elections. We will tell the probable candidates to start preparing,” he said.Also readPrepare for 2019, Rahul Gandhi tells cadresAsked about the demand of some party leaders that the candidates should be announced six months prior to the election, Babaria said, “It depends on the vulnerability of the seats. The announcement may be made two months, two weeks or two hours prior to the filing of nominations, because the opposition may also plan its strategies accordingly.” Babaria also said that as Congress president Rahul Gandhi has indicated and which was also visible in the recently-held Gujarat elections, younger faces would be given a preference in Madhya Pradesh as well.Also readPM Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model debunked during polls, says Rahul GandhiHe also said that the party would request the leaders, who had lost in the last two-three elections, to vacate the seat for the young leaders.”The leaders who were defeated in the last two-three elections would be told to leave the seat for the young leaders and work for the party. The names of such leaders would be considered for the parliamentary elections,” he said.Also read2G scam verdict: ‘Vindicated’ Rahul Gandhi says BJP’s foundation based on ‘lies’Responding to a query, Babaria said the party would focus on the election preparedness at the micro level in MP after learning a lesson from the Gujarat Assembly elections, in which it lost to the BJP despite putting up a good show.When asked about the announcement of the party’s chief ministerial face for the next assembly election, the AICC general secretary said the party would take a call on this at a suitable time.

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