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Assembly elections 2017 results?: Nitish Kumar congratulates PM Modi, Amit Shah on Gujarat, Himachal victory

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.The Janata Dal (United) president also took a dig at the Congress, saying that while the party was aiming to defeat the BJP in Gujarat, it “ended up losing even in Himachal Pradesh”, where it was in power.”Congratulations to honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the victory in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. The Congress, which had claimed it would wrest power from the BJP in Gujarat, has ended up losing even Himachal Pradesh,” Kumar tweeted in Hindi.An official release issued here said the chief minister spoke to Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in the morning over phone and extended his greetings on the poll victory to them.Once considered a potential political rival of Modi, Kumar now maintains a cordial relationship with the prime minister, following the formation of a JD(U)-BJP coalition government in Bihar in July.The Grand Alliance, comprising the RJD, JD(U) and Congress, had come to power in Bihar after the 2015 Assembly polls. The anti-BJP coalition had, however, collapsed over corruption charges surfaced against the then deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, the son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad.The reunion of the JD(U) and the BJP came four years after Kumar had severed ties with the saffron party in June, 2013 over the elevation of Modi as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

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It’s official! Rahul Gandhi is Congress boss now

It’s official now! Rahul Gandhi has been elected as the president of the Congres party on Monday. The 47-year-old was elected as the boss of the Grand Old Part of India unoppsed, Congress leader Mullappally Ramachandran was quoted as saying by the news agency ANI.Addressing the media at party headquarters, Ramachandran said, “89 nomination proposals were received,all were valid.Since there was only one candidate.I hereby declare Rahul Gandhi elected as the president of Indian National Congress.”The Gandhi scion will assume the office on December 16. The event will mark a generational shift in the Grand Old Party of India when Sonia Gandhi, the longest-serving Congress president, would formally hand over the baton to her son.The announcement of Rahul Gandhi’s elevation came on the last date of withdrawal of nomination for the election of the Congress president which is a one horse race.DNA had reported on December 4 that the big announcement would be made on December 11.On December 28, which happens to be the Foundation Day of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi is likely to take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi.Among those who proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name in the first set of nomination papers were Sonia Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Sheila Dikshit, Tarun Gogoi and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy.Party leaders Manmohan Singh, Oscar Fernandes, P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his Meghalaya counterpart Mukul Sangma proposed his name in the second set of nomination papers.Rahul Gandhi’s era begins at a time when the Congress has lost most of its political power. The Congress has been losing state after state since the 2014 Lok Sabha election with the exception of Punjab.Rahul Gandhi’s elevation would come just two days ahead of the counting of votes for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly poll.A sure-footed Rahul Gandhi powered a spirited campaign for the Congress in Gujarat, and a win in the election, which many analysts say could be dead heat between the two parties, would come as a massive boost for him.Mahila Congress chief and party spokesperson Sushmita Dev said reorganising the party would be another major task for him.”Every post comes with a challenge. He has to rebuild the party at the grassroots and strengthen the ideological base.His undisputed election as party president is a sign of his strength. He will have to take everyone along from the AICC level right up to the states,” she told PTI.Striking a balance between the old guard and the young leaders would be a key to running the organisation which has many seasoned politicians whose wisdom he could use as he steers the party.Clarity on the party’s ideological stand on the issue of Hindutva would also be important as he is being seen as projecting the Congress’s soft Hindutva with his visit to temples in Gujarat. He has also proclaimed himself a “Shiv bhakt”.The deadline set by the Election Commission for conclusion of the organisational elections in the Congress expires on December 31.Organisational elections in the Congress were due in 2015. The party constitution provides for elections to be held every five years. The last such polls were held in 2010.

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Rahul Gandhi likely to be declared Congress President today

Rahul Gandhi is likely to be declared as Congress president on Monday. But, the 47-year-old party vice-president will assume the reins of the Congress on December 16.The event will mark a generational shift in the Grand Old Party of India when Sonia Gandhi, the longest-serving Congress president, would formally hand over the baton to her son.The announcement of Rahul Gandhi’s elevation, however, is likely to be made today, the last date of withdrawal of nomination for the election of the Congress president which is a one horse race, the PTI said.Altogether 89 nominations received in Rahul Gandhi’s favour were found to be valid during scrutiny. DNA had reported on December 4 that the big announcement would be made on December 11.On December 28, which happens to be the Foundation Day of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi is likely to take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi.Among those who proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name in the first set of nomination papers were Sonia Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Sheila Dikshit, Tarun Gogoi and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy.Party leaders Manmohan Singh, Oscar Fernandes, P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his Meghalaya counterpart Mukul Sangma proposed his name in the second set of nomination papers.

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Will fight to save democracy, says Sharad Yadav after RS ouster

Reacting to his ouster from the Rajya Sabha, rebel Janata Dal United (JDU) leader Sharad Yadav on Tuesday said that it was a well planned conspiracy and he will continue to fight to save the democracy.Yadav was disqualified from the membership of the Rajya Sabha along with another rebel colleague Ali Anwar Ansari on Monday by Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. The decision came nearly a fortnight after the Election Commission recognised the Nitish-led JDU faction as the real party and entitled it to use the reserved arrow symbol.Sticking to his defiance, Yadav said his removal from the Upper House of Parliament was the price he was paying for questioning the undemocratic style of his party’s functioning.Yadav was referring to party chief Nitish Kumar’s decision to break from the “grand alliance” with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress and join the BJP-led NDA.Yadav claimed the decision was taken unilaterally by Nitish when he refused to buckle under pressure and remained loyal to the principal of saving secularism, on which the Grand Alliance was formed.He said that breaking away from the Grand Alliance amounted to “betrayal” of the people in Bihar who voted it to power to keep the BJP away.Following Yadav’s open criticism of the alliance with BJP, the JDU decided to remove him as the parliamentary party leader.Thereafter he fought a critical battle with the JDU faction led by Nitish over the control of the party’s symbol in the Election Commission. After hearing both sides, the Commission recognised Nitish’s faction as the real JDU and gave it the symbol.SHOWN THE DOORYadav was disqualified from the membership of the Rajya Sabha along with another rebel colleague Ali Anwar Ansari on Monday by Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. The decision came nearly a fortnight after the EC recognised the Nitish-led JDU faction as the real party and entitled it to use the reserved arrow symbol.
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Yogi Adityanath

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DNA Edit- Rahul Gandhi’s elevation: A myth called ‘inner party democracy’ in India

“Inner party democracy” was in full display as the Congress vice-president for five years, Rahul Gandhi, filed his nomination papers for the post of party president on Monday. He was the only candidate to do so as the last minute of the last day for filing nominations passed. Truly democratic, was it not?Is it that no one else in the Grand Old Party had the desire to lead from the front? If today, speaking purely in the realm of theory, the Nehru-Gandhi family had decided to keep away from the party president’s post, I can bet my hat that an EVM would have been required just to count the number of nominations filed for the said post. Why just point at the Congress? “Inner party democracy” is a myth perpetuated by the entire Indian political system. Political parties in the country have been successful in melding “handpicked” and “elected.” Despite all its claims of being a truly democratic party, the BJP is led by one who was elected unopposed. No doubt he proved to be greatly effective, but that doesn’t take away the “selection” aspect from his election.Look at Trinamool Congress. The organisational election of the party was held in April this year in which Mamata Banerjee was unanimously elected the chairperson. TMC was formed in 1998 and ‘Didi’ has been “elected” as its boss in 2001, 2006 and 2011. The next election will be held after half a decade… feel free to place a wager on the outcome. In Uttar Pradesh, both the SP and the BSP are as far from inner party democracy as any of the parties mentioned above. While the former has been swinging between a jostling father and son, the latter is firmly in the pocket of Mayawati, irrespective of whether she wins or loses elections. In Tamil Nadu, M Karunanidhi is to DMK what Xerox is to photocopying. He was elected unopposed to the post of party president for the eleventh time in a row in January 2015.Also readRahul Gandhi will not be announced Congress president today. Here’s when is the D-DayFrom the Badals of Shiromani Akali Dal to the Abdullahs of National Conference to the Raos of Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the story is boringly repetitive, but genuinely worrying. Here’s the crux of the matter: A political system that strives on dynasty, operates like a monarchy and throttles aspirations is ruling over a Constitutional democracy. In India, a Land of Contradictions, this surely takes the proverbial cake.This is not to cast aspersion on the individuals who are currently at the helm of their respective parties. Most probably they would have come out as winners even if fair and broad-based contests were held within their parties. On Monday, Rahul Gandhi had the opportunity to shake up Indian polity – by entering into a contest. Instead, he chose to play a ‘fixed’ match, entrenching the above narrative.Also read’Promotion without performance’: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ‘congratulates’ Rahul Gandhi(The author is Editor-in-Chief of DNA)
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Yogi Adityanath

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Gujarat elections 2017 | Congress banking on casteism: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP national president Amit Shah pulled no punches as he confidently predicted a resounding victory for the saffron party in the Prime Minister’s home state — Gujarat.In a free-wheeling interview to Zee Hindustan, Shah said, “If you look at poll campaigns of both parties in Gujarat, you will see that the Congress has been fighting on the plank of casteism while we have been fighting on the plank of development. And we have seen that time and again the people of Gujarat have rejected casteism in favour of development.”Shah who confidently predicted a resounding victory for the BJP with 163 out of the 182 seats going to the party, stated that the party was ready to answer any issue that the Congress would raise against it. Dismissing Rahul Gandhi’s charges that GST and demonetization had been heavy for the common man, Shah contended that it had cleansed the system. He also replied to the Grand Old Party’s accusations of “corruption” and “favouritism” on the Rafale deal stating, “It is a government to government deal. Let the Winter Session of Parliament come, we are ready to answer to all charges levelled against us.” Asked as to why was the government delaying the announcement of dates for the Winter Session of Parliament, Shah said, “Do remember in the time of the UPA, the sessions of Parliament were delayed as well. It is easy to point fingers at us. We will announce it soon.”Asked about the ongoing ‘Padmavati’ controversy, Shah said. “Please note that it is not just in Gujarat there is a ban on ‘Padmavati’ in many states. History is a sensitive subject and should not be tampered with.”Asked about the issue of love jihad and the recent ongoing case in Kerala. “There has been a recent instance of ISIS operative becoming active in Kerala and using methods such as love jihad. While we endorse the right for anyone to marry, we cannot dismiss such concerns and the government needs to take it seriously.”

Grand Finale of Cryptic Crossword Contest begins

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 36 school teams will be competing to win the Grand Finale of the Cryptic Crossword Contest 2017, which started at Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan Auditorium, Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 2, Delhi Cantt on Tuesday.The inauguration ceremony was attended by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) Commissioner Santosh Mall and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti ( NVS), Commissioner B K Singh.Vivek Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Bihar government, who is also the chief mentor of the Cryptic Crossword Contest 2017, was also present at the ceremony.On the first day, 36 teams from India registered for the contest, of which 24 were selected for the eight quarter-finals. The teams comprised winners of the city rounds. The quarter final teams will then compete in the three semi-finals followed by a final. The winning team in the final will lift the National Crossword Trophy. The winning teams will be awarded on Thursday.This annual national-level inter-school contest is organised by Extra C, a Patna- based civil society initiative.The current edition of the contest is fifth in the series that was started in 2013. KVS, NVS and Doordarshan are the event partners this year.TESTING TIMEOn first day, 36 teams from India registered, of which 24 were selected for the eight quarter-finals. Teams comprised winners of city rounds.

Hardik Patel gives ultimatum to Congress, asks for Patidar reservation plan by November 3

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Congress courts Patidar leader Hardik Patel for the upcoming Gujarat Elections, the young leader has decided to play hardball.In an ultimatum to the Grand Old Party, the 24-year-old has asked for a clear strategy for Patidar reservation.Patel took to Twitter on Saturday and said, “by November 3, the Congress must clear its stand on how it would give constitutional reservation to the Patidars. Else it would meet the same fate as Amit Shah.”The single tweet can change the equation between the Congress and the influential Patidar leader as it makes it clear that he won’t play second fiddle to the party in Gujarat.Recently, a local court had issued non-bailable warrant against Patel over non-appearance in a 2016 case. Though he later got bail, the situation may get worse for the Patidar leader as the model code of conduct has come into effect and there is now no way that the criminal cases against Patel community youths can be withdrawn.At a time like this, with leaked CCTV footages and rumours of his secret meeting with Rahul Gandhi, Hardik Patel wants to make an impact in the crucial elections in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.Hardik Patel made headlines during his 2015 Patidar agitation in Gujarat. He has been demanding an OBC status for the Patels. With over 1.25 lakh Twitter followers, Hardik Patel commands quite a following both online and on ground.

Mughalsarai Railway station renamed after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay: Why this matters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Uttar Pradesh government renamed the iconic Mughalsarai Railway Station after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay on Saturday.In a bid to revive the legacy of RSS ideologue, Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government has not just renamed the fourth busiest railway station in India, but has taken away the historic legacy of the place.The small town near Varanasi has been the point connecting east India to northern parts. There was a time back in 19th century, when the Grand Trunk Road built by Sher Shah Suri was used by the Indian Subcontinent and Mughalsarai being located along Sadak-e-Azam made it an important corridor.But it was only in 1883 when the British came here that the town was renamed as Mughalsarai.They began laying down railway lines and soon Patna-Mughalsarai division, Mughalsarai-Allahabad division, Mughalsarai-Varanasi-Rae Bareli and the Mughalsarai-Gaya division came into existence.For 134 years, the town and the station has been called Mughalsarai. So why would the Yogi government decide the rename it? Well, there is a strong connection between Mughalsarai station and the RSS ideologue.Deen Dayala Upadhyay had died under mysterious circumstances while travelling in a train at Mughalsarai station on February 11, 1968.In August the UP government had sent the proposal that was accepted by the Centre.Politicians have been renaming places, cities in line with their ideologies. From Bombay to Mumbai, from Madras to Chennai, from Elphinstone to Prabhadevi, there are many such examples.While Mughalsarai has seen many names such as Oven Nagar to Mangalpur, but renaming the railway station with Asia’s largest railway marshaling yard will change the way future generations see the place.

Sharad Yadav buying time from EC over application of party symbol to protect his Rajya Sabha seat: Nitish Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The JD(U) headed by Nitish Kumar on Monday hit out at rebel Sharad Yadav faction saying that even after rejection of application for party symbol twice, they are trying to buy time from Election Commission as a ‘shield’ to protect Rajya Sabha membership of Yadav.”Even after their application has been rejected twice by the EC as its not backed by any valid papers, Sharad Yadav and his aides are trying to buy time from election panel,” new JD(U) Parliamentary party leader in Parliament R C P Singh told PTI in Patna.”They are doing so with sole intent to use their plea a ‘shield’ to protect the Rajya Sabha membership of Sharad Yadav,” Singh, a trusted aide of Nitish Kumar, said.The Sharad Yadav faction had on Sunday last said that it will submit fresh application to claim party’s poll symbol of arrow after the Election Commission asked it to provide evidence to back the demand.Singh, who replaced Yadav as Parliamentary party head, described as “unconstitutional” Sharad Yadav faction calling a meeting of national executive earlier on September 17 and now summoning national council meet on October 8.”They have no constitutional right to call any such meeting of the party,” he said.Singh laughed at Yadav raising issue against election of Nitish Kumar as President of JD(U) of which he himself was a part.”It was Sharad Yadav who had proposed name of Nitish Kumar for JD(U) President which the party national executive had ratified at Rajgir in 2016,” the JD(U) Parliamentary party chief said.”I and Javed Raza (suspended JD-U General Secretary who is now approaching EC on behalf of Sharad Yadav) had apprised the EC then about Nitish Kumar election as party President,” he added.Differences between Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar factions in the wake of disintegration of the Grand Alliance have reached a point of no return now and the two groups have knocked the EC for allotment of symbol to them.

City’s residents gear up for a Grand Saree Fair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Giving a boost to traditional Indian weaves, some of which are vanishing into oblivion, an organisation Dastkar has conceptualised The Grand Saree Fair, which will not only bring weavers together from the interiors of the country but also give Delhiites a sneak peak into traditional Indian wear.The five-day carnival-cum-exhibition being held from September 21 to September 25 at Nature’s Bazaar, will feature products that reflect the crafts by artisans from around the country.Organisers say that Kalamkaris from Andhra Pradesh, Bandhanis from Gujarat, Linens & Tussars from West Bengal, Ikats from Odisha, Gamcha Sarees from West Bengal, Ajrakhs from Gujarat, Jamdanis, Tokli, Cottons & Kanthas from West Bengal, Chanderis from Madhya Pradesh, Kotas from Rajasthan, Banarasi Sarees from Uttar Prades, Calligraphic & Khadi Sarees will be sold here at very low prices.”The saree is six yards of magic. One length of cloth, miraculously transforming itself to suit every figure, style, age and occasion. This event is not only a celebration of this evergreen garment, but also an attempt to bring the infinite variety of regional weaves within reach of the urban Delhi customer”, Laila Tyabji, founder of Dastkar.The exhibition will also have a curated saree preview by showcasing the work of some of the names and organisations working with handloom sarees like Bodhi, Dayalal Kudecha, Ethicus, Malavika Chhatterjee, Sangeeta Sen, Taan Baan, Tasar, Tuni Handicraft, Ghanshyam Sarode, Vimor, Vriksh, and Weavers Studio, all of whom are working to preserve and conserve the art of weaving.People working with Vimor sarees, said that the organisation was founded in 1974 by Chimy Nanjappa, dubbed the “saree scientist” and her daughter, Pavithra Muddaya. The organisation, which is working to preserve antique sari weaving techniques, also encourages, and trains small-town weavers to produce traditional, marketable sarees so that the ancient craft of sari weaving is passed further.On displayKalamkaris from Andhra Pradesh, Bandhanis from Gujarat, Linens & Tussars from West Bengal, Ikats from Odisha, Gamcha Sarees from West Bengal, Ajrakhs from Gujarat, among others will be sold at low prices.

Amid fears of rebellion, some Cong Bihar MLAS meet Rahul Gandhi in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amid fears of a rebellion in its Bihar unit, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today met party legislators from the state and discussed the political situation there arising out of the collapse of the grand alliance.Sources said that the party legislators aired their views frankly to the leader in the aftermath of the JD(U) joining hands with the BJP, which left the Congress and the RJD out of power. The Congress has 27 MLAs in 243-member Bihar Assembly.Party general secretary incharge of Bihar Congress C P Joshi said that the MLAs discussed the changed political situation in the state and expressed their views on the party’s future course of action.The sources said Gandhi had invited the Congress MLAs to avoid a split in the party, who were feeling uneasy after losing power in the state.Less than half of the 27 MLAs of the Congress in Bihar attended today’s meet, they claimed. Those conspicuous by their absence included party’s CLP leader Sadanand Singh, who stayed away citing some personal reasons.”I would be meeting Rahul Gandhi tomorrow,” he told PTI.He is slated to meet the Congress vice president in another meeting tomorrow.”I have not gone to Delhi due to some personal reasons,” Sadanand Singh, ninth term MLA from Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district, said.Singh, however, said he had already met AICC president Sonia Gandhi and apprised her of the political situation in Bihar and the views of legislators after break-up of the Grand Alliance of the JD(U), RJD and Congress.The sources say that Gandhi had called senior Congress legislators to Delhi in a damage-control exercise to prevent a large section of MLAs from deserting the party.Reports from Bihar suggest that a sizeable number of the 27 Congress MLAs in Bihar Assembly are gravitating towards Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) after disintegration of the Grand Alliance last month.The Congress leaders have been soft in criticising Nitish Kumar after break-up of the alliance.The Nitish Kumar government recently issued eviction notice to Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, his brother Tej Pratap Yadav and other ministers in the erstwhile government from RJD quota, but the bungalow of former Congress ministers Ashok Choudhary and Awdesh Kumar Singh remained untouched despite the change of guard.The CM has left eight vacancies in his cabinet which many read as a prize for deserting the Congress.But JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar said his party was never interested in splitting other parties.”This is their internal meeting with Gandhi. But, it’s visible that Congress MLAs are feeling unhappy over Lalu Prasad’s leadership,” he said.

Despite Mayawati, Sonia giving it a miss, Lalu Yadav chuffed about Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Yadav attending RJD rally

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav would attend the RJD rally here on August 27 and Mayawati’s absence from the event was not a “setback”, party chief Lalu Prasad said today.”I had a talk with Mayawati. She said senior BSP leader Satish Mishra would come for the rally,” he told reporters.The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief said senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and C P Joshi would also attend the rally with a message from All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Sonia Gandhi.Asked about the chances of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi attending the event, Prasad said, “He could also be there.”He also claimed that Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee and rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav would be on the dais that day.At the time of announcing the ‘BJP Bhagao Rally’ (oust BJP rally) at the Gandhi Maidan here, Prasad had boasted of bringing Mayawati and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav together on one platform, which would mean the “end of the match for the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls”.Back then, JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar was in the Grand Alliance, also comprising the RJD and the Congress, and Prasad, while heralding his coming together with Kumar in Bihar, had said joining hands by the SP and the BSP — the two arch rivals in Uttar Pradesh — would spell doom for the BJP in the next general election.Asked about Kumar’s and JD(U) principal general secretary K C Tyagi’s comments that if Sharad Yadav attends the RJD rally against the party line, he would lose his Rajya Sabha membership, Prasad claimed that there was no such provision.”Is there any provision like this in any party?…Political party leaders attend rallies organised by others…It does not come under the anti-defection law,” he said.Prasad further said, “Sharad Yadav represents the true JD(U).”Sharad Yadav, who had attended a parallel ‘Jan Adalat’ meeting, instead of attending the JD(U) national executive meeting on Saturday, had asserted, “Mahagathbandhan jaari hain (the Grand Alliance is continuing).”

Decision to take BJP support to form govt wasn’t pre-planned: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Many may believe Nitish Kumar’s decision to embrace the BJP was in the works for weeks, if not months, but the Bihar chief minister insists he himself had no inkling he would return to the NDA fold until the saffron party offered support to him the day he resigned after walking out of the Grand Alliance.Kumar, who jettisoned Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Congress on July 26 and put in his papers, also claimed attempts were being made to engineer defections in his party. “I know none of you would believe me that I had no previous thinking of joining hands with the BJP after tendering my resignation to the Governor on July 26.”After I resigned, when an offer came to us from BJP that day, I placed it before my legislators who had gathered at my Anne Marg residence for the legislature party meeting and they decided that the offer should be accepted,” Kumar told reporters yesterday, insisting everything happened in “quick time”. He said BJP legislators and those of its allies immediately joined the meeting of JD(U) lawmakers where he was chosen the leader of their joint legislature party after which he staked claim to form the government.Kumar claimed, before the quick-paced developments plunged Bihar into a political turmoil, a “behind the scene game” was being played out where JD(U) MLAs were being “lured” to defect. “Many JD(U) MLAs were being lured to defect from the party … My MLAs refused all allurements and told me who came with huge offers to them,” he said without naming any party or individual. However, his statement was being seen as directed at RJD.Kumar, also the JD(U) president, warned that rebel veteran leader Sharad Yadav, who is upset over the split in the 3-party Grand Alliance in Bihar, would lose his Rajya Sabha seat if he were to attend the RJD’s August 27 rally in Patna, in violation of a party directive. The Bihar chief minister said he had challenged his detractors to break the party at the open session after the JD(U) national executive meeting last Saturday. “I repeat my challenge today,” he said.Kumar said rules provided for expulsion of a member if he participates in the political programme of another party against the party line, he said. “If you go into the technicality of this provision….If somebody even sends a photograph of a party leader sharing platform of another party to the president of the party to which the leader belongs, it would amount to that person giving up the membership of the party on his own,” he said, and cited instance of former Bihar MP (Capt. Jai Narain Nishad) who lost his membership on that ground.Kumar, however, did not elaborate whether the provision existed in the JD(U) constitution or the Anti-Defection Law. JD(U) principal general secretary K C Tyagi had on Saturday said that if Sharad Yadav crosses the ‘Lakshman rekha’ and attends RJD’s rally, the party would initiate action against him.

Sharad free to decide own course: Nitish

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar today said party leader Sharad Yadav was “free” to take his decision and asserted that the “straying of a handful of people” would have no impact on the party as battle lines between the two factions appeared drawn. He dared the Yadav loyalists, who had claimed that the “original” JD(U) was with them, to “break” the party. “Break the JD(U) legislative party if you have the might…prove a two-thirds majority within the party for breaking it, otherwise your membership will go,” Kumar said, throwing a challenge to his detractors, led by Yadav. He questioned Yadav’s protest over the decision to part ways with the Grand Alliance in Bihar. “Why did you (Yadav) not speak up in 2013 when the party broke away from the NDA? You were the president of the party at that time,” he said. Addressing an open session after the JD(U) national council and national executive meets, Kumar said speaking up after the development was of no importance. Making a veiled attack on Yadav, who held a parallel ‘Jan Adalat’ meeting in Patna today, instead of attending the JD(U) national executive meet at Kumar’s official residence, the chief minister said, “Only one thing is being run jointly nowadays — promoting family interests in politics.” He also took potshots at Yadav for organising a conclave of the opposition parties in Delhi on August 17. Media reports here claimed that one of the reasons why Yadav had moved closer to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was to field his son from the Madhepura Lok Sabha constituency in 2019 with the RJD’s help. Kumar recounted several episodes to highlight the “political respect” shown by him to Yadav. “In 2004, when he (Yadav) lost the Lok Sabha election from Madhepura, I sat with the then party chief George Fernandes for more than two hours to persuade him to send Yadav to the Rajya Sabha,” he said. Kumar, who was speaking in the presence of JD(U) leaders K C Tyagi, R C P Singh, Pawan Varma and the party’s Bihar unit chief Basistha Narayan Singh among others, justified his decision to walk out of the Grand Alliance. He also hit out at Lalu and the RJD for levelling various allegations against him after the break-up. Kumar mentioned that JD(U) principal general secretary Tyagi had pointed out that 16 of the 20 state unit chiefs of the party, all the 71 party MLAs and 30 MLCs of Bihar and the office-bearers of various committees were siding with him. He also made a scathing attack on suspended JD(U) Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar Ansari and former Bihar minister Ramai Ram — two prominent faces around Yadav. “Why did you not speak up when you were sent to the Rajya Sabha in 2012 with the help of the BJP?” he asked Ansari. Kumar condemned Yadav’s supporters for “creating a nuisance” outside his 1, Anne Marg residence earlier in the day. “Do you wish to lead Bihar on the strength of such hoodlums?” he asked the former JD(U) president. Kumar justified the decision to part ways with the RJD and refuted the argument that it was an “insult” to the people’s mandate given to the Grand Alliance in 2015. “The mandate was for serving the people of Bihar and not for enriching one family,” he said in an apparent reference to Lalu. “The mandate was to work for the people of Bihar and not to carry the load of sins of such people,” he added. Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has levelled a series of corruption allegations against Lalu and his family. On the RJD’s statement questioning the support base of the JD(U), Kumar said, “It was due to the votes of the JD(U) that you became the largest party (in Bihar). But as the RJD’s votes were not transferred in sufficient numbers, some of the JD(U) candidates lost (in the 2015 Bihar Assembly polls).” Alleging that Lalu and his party were the “victims of arrogance”, he pointed towards the RJD’s fate in the 2010 Bihar Assembly polls when it had won only 22 seats. “And those 22 seats were won when Ram Vilas Paswan was with you. Now, he is with us. Think of your future performances,” he cautioned the RJD. On the JD(U)’s support base, Kumar said, “Whosoever the JD(U) goes with, they win,” apparently referring to the NDA’s victory earlier when the JD(U) was with the BJP and again in 2015, when the JD(U) had joined hands with the RJD and Congress and the Grand Alliance had won more than two-thirds of the seats in the 243-member Bihar Assembly.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Not taking action against Sharad Yadav as he is ‘senior’-JD (U)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Janata Dal (United) on Saturday snubbed reports of a rift in the party saying that all the leaders of the party are strongly in support of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. ?All 71 MLAs and 30MLCs, 16 of 19 office bearers are with us. There is no split as such in JD (U), we have overwhelming majority,? party leader K.C. Tyagi told the reporters here. Touching upon the touchy topic of Sharad Yadav, Tyagi opined that if the rebel leader had a disagreement over the decision of Nitish Kumar, then he could have just raised the matter in the meeting, rather than holding rallies across Bihar with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). ?We even invited him today, to raise the issue and hold discussion on the same. But rather than coming here, he is holding meeting with the people of RJD. Sharad Yadav is doing anti-party activities, but we did not take any action against him because of his seniority,? he said. Tyagi further said that everyone in the party came to this conclusion that it was becoming difficult to work with the RJD, as they were framed with corruption charges as well, that is why they withdrew from the Grand Alliance. ?It was important to remove Sharad Yadav from the Legislature party Leader as he was becoming a hindrance in day-to-day functioning. We are not angry but hurt that he will share the dais with the one against whom so many corruption charges are framed,? Tyagi said. Further stressing on the same Tyagi said that with Nitish, Sharad had a different stature, but on August 27th all his ideals will be buried when he will embraces Lalu. He also asserted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah had asked them to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre and said that the party has passed the resolution to and are now a part of it from today. Sharad Yadav was sacked as JD(U)’s Rajya Sabha leader when he made his chagrin against Nitish Kumar snapping ties with the Lalu Yadav-led RJD and forging an alliance with the BJP, to form the next government in Bihar, quite evident. Yadav also asserted that Nitish’s flip-flop, as far as his views on the BJP were concerned, was an insult to the 2015 mandate of the people given to the “Mahagathbandhan” and that he was still a part of the grand alliance in the state. In the aftermath, the Nitish-led JD(U) even suspended 21 party leaders for participating in Yadav’s recent three-day Jan Samwad Yatra, wherein he interacted with the people of the state, indicative of a widening rift in the party. Lalu Yadav had also come out in support of Sharad Yadav, leading up to the Nitish faction, reportedly, warning the latter that if he attended the August 27 “Desh Bachao, BJP Bhagao” rally of the former, he would be sacked from the party. Meanwhile, today, Nitish chaired the national executive meeting of the party, while Sharad Yadav held a parallel convention in the state under the title ‘Jan Adalat’.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Nitish, Sharad supporters clash outside CM’s house

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supporters of rival JD(U) factions headed by Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav clashed outside the residence of the Bihar chief minister here today, police said. Riding two-wheelers without helmets, Yadav’s supporters were escorting him from the airport to the S K Memorial Hall, the venue of their Jan Adalat programme, when they stopped outside the chief minister’s residence on the way and shouted slogans. The clashes took place when some of them carrying sticks and belts tried to enter Nitish Kumar’s 1, Anne Marg residence — opposite the Raj Bhavan. Soon, Kumar’s supporters, who had gathered there for (JD (U) National Executive Committee meeting came out and chased away Yadav’s supporters, police said. Yadav, who was in the car with suspended JD(U) MP Ali Anwar, refused to comment on the incident and told reporters, “I will speak at the programme.” Patna Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manu Maharaj who reached the chief minister’s house on hearing of the trouble, told reporters that a probe would be conducted and the guilty would be punished. “We will watch CCTV cameras and try to identify those behind the violence and act against them,” the SSP said. Asked about security arrangements and why Yadav was allowed to take that route, the SSP said the concerns would be part of the probe. Parallel meetings were held here by the rival JD(U) factions headed by Kumar and Yadav. While the JD(U) national executive committee met at the chief minister’s residence, the rival camp held its Jan Adalat in S K Memorial Hall. Yadav, Ali Anwar and suspended former Bihar minister Ramai Ram were prominent figures at the Jan Adalat programme. The two JD(U) leaders fell out after Nitish Kumar broke the Grand Alliance with the RJD and the Congress in Bihar and joined hands with the BJP.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Super dictatorship’ in the country, change in 2019: Mamata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said “super dictatorship” is going on in the country but opposition parties have come on a platform and there will be change in 2019. “Super dictatorship is going on (in the country). If somebody says anything, they (the Centre) will send the ED, or CBI or IT to their homes. All are scared of that,” Banerjee said criticising the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, at an interactive session hosted by a news channel here. “How will the opposition be powerful? Everybody is scared,” she said. To a question why she was always the first target of attack by the Centre, she said she was happy to be so. “I feel I am a hero not zero”. Banerjee said, “What I can sustain, others cannot. I can digest because I am from the grassroots and I am a fighter and I will fight the battle throughout my life”. “However, the opposition parties have come on a platform and there will be change (at the Centre) in 2019. “We are waiting for the change … No front has been formed as yet, but the opposition parties have come on a platform and have started working. Wait for six months. Things will be clear,” she said at the interaction ‘Rising Bengal 2017’ here. “All will not speak so soon. Otherwise, (central) agencies will be unleashed against them,” she added. Asked to comment on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar quitting the Grand Alliance with RJD and Congress in Bihar, Banerjee said “You are thinking about one Nitish Kumar but I am thinking about 100 Sharad Yadavs, 100 Lalu Prasads, 100 Akhilesh Yadavs”. Blaming the Centre for hampering the country’s economy and disturbing industries by introducing demonetisation, Banerjee said “They (the Centre) threaten everybody. Everyday they disturb the industry. Just look how many industrialists have left the country after the GST and demonetisation. “What they had said before demonetisation nothing has happened. The country has to face so much of loss because of demonetisation. The economic condition of the country has deteriorated because of it. People do not know how much money has been deposited with the RBI after demonetisation”. She wondered how BJP president Amit Shah could hold meeting with a Union minister. “Who is the prime minister? Narendra Modi or Amit Shah?” she asked without naming the minister. Banerjee showered praise on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “He is also a BJP man – but he was very balanced and impartial. We worked under him and never faced any problem. “But why are we facing problems today? I do not want to blame the prime minister but his party should take care. Why is his party creating problems for everyone? “Why they are showing us the agencies everyday? Why will they tell me what I will eat, wear, which school I should go to or which religion I support? Or how the schools will celebrate Independence Day,” she said, adding, it was Bengal which was at the forefront of the freedom movement and “Now it has to learn how to celebrate Independence Day?” She also alleged that education was being saffronised in the country. Questioned about the recent deaths of children in a Gorakhpur hospital, Banerjee said “What has happened there was not good”. “They (BJP) can deliver speeches but they cannot deliver the goods,” she added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

JD(U) parallel meets tomorrow, split indicated

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rival JD(U) factions headed by Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav have called parallel meetings here tomorrow indicating that the party may be heading for a split after the disintegration of the Grand Alliance in Bihar. A national executive committee meeting of the JD(U) has been called at its national president and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s official residence here tomorrow where the party is expected to formally accept the invitation to join the BJP-led NDA. Loyalists of Sharad Yadav, who has opposed joining hands with the BJP, are also organising a programme, ‘Jan Adalat’ at S K Memorial hall. The two meetings make it clear that battle lines within the JD(U) are drawn and the party may be heading for a vertical split. JD(U) principal secretary general K C Tyagi has, however, maintained that there is no split and that Yadav “has left voluntarily”. Tyagi told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

One or two member cannot divide party: JD(U) spokesperson

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One or two members cannot divide the JD(U), party spokesperson K C Tyagi said today, hours after senior leader Sharad Yadav was removed by the party as its leader in the Rajya Sabha. He said Yadav had already chosen a path which “leads to the RJD”. Regarding the claim of the supporters of Yadav that various state units of the party were against the alliance with the BJP in Bihar, he said the JD(U) was a recognised political party only in the eastern state. “All the party MLAs and MLCs from Bihar are with us. They have reposed their faith in the chief minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar. A member or two cannot divide the party, all such claims of a split are false,” said Tyagi. Acknowledging Yadav’s seniority in the party, the JD(U) leader said, “Sharadji is one of the founding members of the party, but it pains us that the path chosen by him leads to our rival, the Rashtriya Janata Dal.” He added that it was “shocking” that Yadav was “cosying up” to RJD chief Lalu Yadav, against whom he had fought “throughout his career”. Tyagi said Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari was removed from the JD(U) parliamentary party because of “anti-party” activities. “He (Ansari) has no moral right to attack us on the issue of joining hands with the BJP as he himself had been elected to the Upper House with the support of their MLAs,” he added. Earlier in the day, the Janata Dal (United) replaced Yadav with R C P Singh as its leader in the Rajya Sabha. They met newly-appointed Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and submitted a letter to him, announcing the appointment of Singh, a close aide of Kumar. The JD(U) has 10 members in the Rajya Sabha. It had, last night, suspended Ansari from the parliamentary party for attending a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Differences between Kumar and Yadav surfaced after the former snapped ties with erstwhile Grand Alliance partners Congress and RJD and allied with the BJP to form the government in Bihar last month. Yadav, who is currently on a tour of Bihar, had said he still believed he was a part of the Grand Alliance. He had also said the JD(U) was not just Kumar’s party, but his as well. The former party president had claimed that the “real” JD(U) was with him and the one with Kumar was the “sarkari” JD (U). Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah today said in a tweet that he had invited Kumar to formally join the NDA.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sonia Gandhi wants to create rift within our party members: JD (U)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Sonia Gandhi inviting Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav in the Opposition meeting on Friday, the party has come down heavily on the Congress President saying she is trying to create a rift within the Nitish Kumar-led party.JD (U) general secretary K C Tyagi said, “Calling our party members in meeting of Opposition leaders reveals Sonia Gandhi’s wrong intentions. We already have broken our ties with UPA and Mahagathbandhan. By calling us she wants to create a rift between party members.”Gandhi has called a meeting of Opposition leaders on Friday morning in New Delhi to chalk out a strategy against the Narendra Modi-led government.Earlier, controversy broke out after Sharad Yadav on Thursday declared in Patna that he was still with the Grand Alliance of the RJD and Congress.This came after Nitish severed ties last month with the Grand Alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress, to form A government in Bihar with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Sharad Yadav defies Nitish Kumar, says he continues to stand for Grand Alliance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his first trip to Bihar since the end of the Grand Alliance, senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav today said the disintegration of the grouping has broken the trust of 11 crore people of the state and he is “hurt” by it.He arrived at the airport here to embark on a three-day tour during which he would hold “direct dialogue” with the people over breaking of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress coalition and formation of the JD(U)-BJP alliance government.Earlier, after Nitish Kumar had walked away from the Grand Alliance, Sharad Yadav had said it was a “betrayal” of the people’s mandate.Now it is clear the JD(U) too is maintaining a distance with Yadav during the trip. While only a handful of JD(U) workers were present at the airport to receive him, RJD supporters were seen in large numbers.Senior JD(U) leader and former Bihar minister Ramai Ram was the big name present at the airport. Former RJD legislator Ram Badan Rai was also at the airport.”The trust of 11 crore people who gave mandate to form the Grand Alliance government in Bihar has been broken,” Yadav told reporters.”The agreement of Gatbandhan (Grand Alliance) was for five years which has been broken…I am hurt by this.” The Rajya Sabha MP said.He said the Grand Alliance and the BJP had put out different manifestos for the state election and they were face-to-face. “It’s for the first time in history of the country that the two manifestos of rival groupings have mingled.””I continue to stand for the ‘Gathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance),” he said.Asked whether his trip did not amount to “anti-party activity”, Yadav, who is the leader of the party in the Upper House, said, “I do not want to make any comment.” From the Patna airport, Sharad Yadav’s convoy headed straight for Sonepur in Saran district. From there, he would go to Hajipur and stop at Muzaffarpur during the night.As per his programme on his twitter account, he would visit the Muzaffarpur-Darbhanga-Madhubani stretch tomorrow and to Madhubani-Supual Madhepura the next day i.e. August 12.

Myth of opposition unity just a chimera: Omar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has hinted at the BJP returning to power in 2019 general elections, saying the “myth” of opposition unity was just a “chimera”. “The myth of opposition unity has been systematically shown for what it is- a chimera. It’s each 1 (one) for themselves in 2019 & 5 (five) more years 2 (to) BJP,” Omar wrote on Twitter. The National Conference working president was reacting the developments in Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls where Ahmad Patel, Congress candidate and confidante of party president Sonia Gandhi, is seeking a fifth term to the Upper House. “I can’t remember the last time a #RajyaSabhaElection was such an attention grabbing event. This one is a real cliff hanger,” Omar said. Omar expressed hope that there were people in the Congress who take note of opinions like that of Jairam Ramesh, who admitted that the party was in crisis. “I hope there are people in the Grand Old Party who sit up & take note of what Jairam is saying. Dismissing his views will be shortsighted,” Omar said. Ramesh, in an interview with(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sand mafia main source of RJD funding, will expose soon: Sushil Kumar Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi today alleged that he would soon come out with documentary proof of sand mafia funding the RJD and investing in Lalu Prasad’s family assets. “Sand mafia fund political parties…sand mafia are the main source of RJD’s funding…I would soon hold a press conference to make a big expose on Lalu Prasad’s family’s links with those big guns involved in sand mining,” Modi told reporters here.The senior BJP leader asserted that the state government was committed to take action against all types of persons involved in corruption.In reply to a query as whether he had gone through the file of ‘soil purchase’, Modi tried to downplay the issue by saying that it was a very small issue.”We (govt) will see as what action has been initiated in the case. What is the progress in the case and what further action is required to be done in it,” Modi said. “This (soil purchase scam) is a very small issue. RJD’s Bihar unit spokesman and media in-charge Pragati Mehta dismissed the allegations as “baseless and absurd”.”We don’t take notice of Sushil Kumar Modi’s allegations. He has been in the habit of making baseless and absurd allegations against Lalu Prasadji and his family…..There is no force in his (Modi’s) allegations,” he said.”BJP is the party of Ambani and Adani whereas ours is a party of poor people which is driven by workers’ cooperation,” Mehta added.Earlier today, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad hit back at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, accusing him of “betrayal” for breaking the Grand Alliance, and alleged that the “match was fixed” between him and the BJP to form a coalition government in the state.Kumar had in a blistering attack on Prasad yesterday said he had no option but to walk out of the Grand Alliance as he did not want to compromise with corruption. PTI AR PR ARK

Kumar blasts Lalu, says no challenge to Modi in 2019 LS polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today tore into RJD boss Lalu Prasad, insisting continuing in the Grand Alliance would have amounted to “compromising with corruption”. Having embraced the BJP after a four-year hiatus, Kumar claimed there would be “no challenge” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections. He also said the proposal for a reunion had come from the “highest level” in the BJP which he accepted as “going got impossible” in the Grand Alliance due to accusations of corruption against his then deputy Tejashwi Yadav. “There were corruption charges and cases were filed by the CBI (against Lalu Prasad and family). I had only told them to come out with proper answers. Instead, they made fun of me saying whether I was a CBI official or the police,” he told a press conference. “Laluji did not give any clarification on corruption charges. How could I remain silent after having talked about zero tolerance to corruption? Now I have a feeling that they did not have a proper answer,” Kumar said. Kumar, till recently seen as a potential challenger to Modi, said, “Nobody else (other than Modi) can occupy the PM’s post. Now nobody has the strength to take on Modi.” Asked about his future role in national politics, Kumar, also the JD(U) chief, said, “Ours is a small party which does not harbour big national aspirations.” When asked about the possibility of JD(U) becoming part of NDA at the national level with ministers in the Modi government, Kumar said the JD(U) national executive will meet in Patna on August 19 and all such issues will be decided there. He also hit back at RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for criticising him for forging an alliance with “communal” BJP. “Making huge money hiding behind the shield of secularism …is this secularism? … I need no certificate of secularism from anybody,” he said, questioning Lalu’s secularist credentials. Highlighting his own commitment to secularism, he said his government had given compensation to the victims of the Bhagalpur communal riots on par with those of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. On reports that senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav was upset over the party joining hands with BJP, he said, “It is not necessary that everybody always agrees on everything. One can have divergent views. The decision to break the Grand Alliance was taken by Bihar JD(U) at its executive meeting which I had to abide by.” “JD(U) is registered with the Election Commission as a regional party in Bihar and hence going against the decision of the state party was not possible for me,” he said. Kumar mocked at Rahul Gandhi for claiming that he had an inkling that Kumar would walk out of the coalition for the last three to four months. “Then why did he (Gandhi) meet me when I had gone to Delhi and sought his intervention…to ask RJD to come clean on the accusations. “Congress did not act on time in Assam also when AGP had come on board. It cost us the Assam polls,” he said, adding “we can be a partner but not a camp follower.” Even as Kumar defended his decision of aligning with the BJP, JD(U) veteran Sharad Yadav had earlier in the day voiced his disapproval, saying the mandate in the 2015 Assembly polls was for the grand alliance. He termed the development “unpleasant” and “unfortunate”. “The situation is very unpleasant to us… It is unfortunate that the coalition has been broken. People’s mandate was not for it. Bihar’s 11 crore people had endorsed our alliance,” Yadav told reporters outside Parliament. The Rajya Sabha member has met a number of opposition leaders since Nitish Kumar walked out of the 3-party Grand Alliance, which also included the Congress, and joined the NDA camp. In Lucknow, BJP chief Amit Shah dismissed allegations of his party engineering splits and defections in rival political organisations. “In Bihar, we did not break any party. Nitish Kumar had tendered his resignation as he had decided that he will not put up with corruption. Should we have told him with a gun to his temple that stay in that alliance?,” Shah told a press conference. Kumar also slammed Lalu over his claim that he made him the chief minister despite RJD having more MLAs. “He (Lalu) arrogantly says that he made me the CM … The people of Bihar showed him his worth in 2010 (when RJD’s strength was reduced to 22),” he said. Meanwhile, in a boost to the fledgling JD(U)-NDA alliance dispensation in Bihar, the Patna High Court today dismissed two PILs challenging the formation of a new government by Nitish Kumar, saying the court’s intervention was no longer required after the floor test in the state Assembly. While one public interest litigation was filed by RJD MLAs Saroj Yadav and Chandan Verma, the other was by Jitendra Kumar, a Samajwadi Party member. Kumar had comfortably won the confidence vote 131-108 on Friday.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Better late than never: Paswan on Nitish going with NDA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan today described Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision of aligning with the NDA as “better late than never”. The Nitish Kumar-led NDA government today secured 131 votes against the opposition’s 108 during the floor test in the Bihar Assembly. “I would term the decision (Nitish aligning with NDA) as better late than never, rather I would say that it is a good decision indeed,” he told reporters here. Kumar was sworn in as the chief minister yesterday, as he returned to the NDA after four years. The day earlier, he had resigned as the chief minister, with the JD(U) breaking ranks with its allies — Lalu Yadav’s RJD and the Congress. Taking about the recent controversy in which Tejashwi Yadav was embroiled, Paswan said Kumar had two options before him — he could have dismissed Tejashwi, the deputy chief minister in the erstwhile Grand Alliance government or dissolved the cabinet. But he (Kumar) played a “master stroke” by resigning, the LJP chief said. “Kumar has now joined hands with his natural ally by breaking his unnatural alliance with Lalu Prasad,” Paswan told reporters. “Ever since the Grand Alliance government was formed in Bihar, I had been maintaining that it would not last even for two-and-a-half years. Now my prediction has come true,” he added. Expressing happiness over the NDA winning the trust vote in the Assembly today, the Union minister said that a “new era” has begun in the state where development would take a front seat. Paswan, who met Nitish Kumar here after a long time, greeted him for forming government and winning the trust vote. He also requested the chief minister to put law and order, development and eradication of corruption in the foreground of his agenda for governance. With the NDA government both at the Centre and in Bihar, the state would witness rapid all-round development, he said. Asked whether his LJP would join the Nitish cabinet, Paswan hinted that his party may join the coalition government. The ostensible reason for Kumar to quit was his falling out with Deputy Chief Minister Yashaswi Yadav, the son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad. Yadav is facing corruption charges but had refused to step down despite Kumar’s exhortations. “In the circumstances that prevail in Bihar, it became difficult to run the grand alliance government,” Kumar had said after submitting his resignation to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi on July 26.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Nitish Kumar moves confidence motion in Bihar Assembly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today moved a confidence motion in the Bihar Assembly to prove the majority of his new government. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, the son of Lalu Prasad Yadav, spoke first on the confidence motion and launched a scathing attack against Kumar for dumping the Grand Alliance government. RJD MLAs protested in the portico of Assembly, signalling their aggressive mood ahead of the trust vote. Live telecast of House proceedings is prohibited and reporters not allowed to use their mobile phones inside. Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi had asked the chief minister yesterday to seek a confidence vote within two days of his swearing in. Kumar, 66, was sworn in yesterday, returning to the National Democratic Alliance after four years. The NDA alliance had submitted a list of 132 MLAs to the governor. These include 71 of JD(U), BJP 53, RLSP two, LJP two, HAM one and three independents. In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, the RJD has 80 MLAs, the Congress 27 and the CPI-ML has three.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AAP accuses Nitish of double standard for taking BJP’s support

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Aam Aadmi Party today accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of “double standards” for forming government in the state, a day after his dramatic resignation, with the support of the BJP. The party also claimed that the BJP may resort to “tactics” to destabilise the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi. “We supported Nitish (Kumar) for his good governance record and his fight against the communal BJP,” AAP’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh said. He said it was ironical that Kumar was now finding RJD president Lalu Prasad corrupt, but did not hesitate to take his support for forming the government in Bihar in 2015. “This shows Nitish’s double standards,” he remarked, expressing shock over the political developments in Bihar, where the JD(U) walked out of the Grand Alliance and made a re-entry into the BJP-led NDA. Until yesterday, the AAP had guarded its response and said it would comment only after seeing how the developments unfold. However, by late last night it had become imminent that Kumar had deserted the Grand Alliance which, besides the JD (U), included the RJD and the Congress. The AAP and the JDU were often seen on the same page with the supremos of both the parties enjoying a good equation. Kejriwal also supported Kumar when the Grand Alliance was formed to take on the BJP and even campaigned for him. Targeting the BJP, Singh alleged that the agencies under the Centre have been targeting the Delhi government and AAP MLAs. This, he feared, could be a “ploy” to destabilise the Delhi government. “Even if you don’t have the mandate you still form the government by imposing presidential rule… even if you are not the single largest party (in case of Manipur and Goa). This is (BJP president) Amit Shah’s style of politics,” Singh said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP backs Nitish’s decision to form alliance with NDA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>New Delhi India, July 27: After Nitish Kumar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar on Thursday, leaders from Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) lauded Nitish Kumar?s decision to forge an alliance with the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar. Bihar witnessed heated political environment soon after Nitish Kumar resigned on Wednesday as Bihar Chief Minister to protest against his Deputy and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Supremo Lalu Yadav?s son Tejashwi Yadav?s stubbornness to stay in the Cabinet despite being named in F.I.R. over the corruption charges. Speaking to ANI, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, ?Nitish had a choice to make and I am glad that Nitish made the right choice.? Naqvi termed the cases of corruption in Bihar as a matter of concern. ?Not only was all this tarnishing his (Nitish) image but was ruining the work done by him as well,? said Naqvi. Vice-President of BJP, C.P. Thakur also supported Nitish Kumar?s decision. He said that the newly formed government will work towards the development of Bihar. He said, ?Development needs to be done in Bihar in the field of education, health etc. Problems need to be cured over there as soon as possible? Thakur added that the former government was ruining Kumar?s image and that no work was being done in Bihar. He cited Tejashwi Yadav?s refusal to resign as a reason which led to Nitish Kumar part his ways with the Grand Alliance. Ends SC/HB NNNN ANI(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rahul-Nitish held meeting to preserve unity of Grand Alliance-JD (U)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Janata Dal (United) on Sunday said the meeting between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was held to call on the Grand Alliance to maintain its strength and unity. ?The meeting was just a courtesy call. The ongoing issues in India are known to all. Rahul Gandhi and Nitish Kumar?s views are similar on the issue of corruption, as both believe that there is no place for such practices in the country,? JD(U) leader KC Tyagi told ANI. Tyagi further stated that the meeting was held to send a message to all the three parties to keep the grand alliance strong, and to maintain its shine. ?This party does not belong to a single party, but it belongs to all the three parties. Grand Alliance is not in trouble, it is just facing a period of turbulence. Parties should carry out their activity faithfully,? he said. Nitish met Rahul at the latter’s residence in the national capital on Saturday, in the backdrop of clouds of uncertainity hovering over the ‘ mahagathbandhan’ in Bihar. Reportedly, Nitish Kumar attended a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee in the national capital. The meeting took place amid speculation of growing tension within the grand alliance in the state after corruption charges were levelled against Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members, including Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav. The situation saw an escalation after Nitish Kumar extended his support to National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) Presidential candidate and now elect Ram Nath Kovind. The two leaders, reports say, discussed the charges against Tejashwi. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a corruption case against Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi and others on allegations of awarding the tender for development, maintenance and operation of hotels in Ranchi and Puri in 2006. Lalu had earlier made it clear that his son Tejashwi Yadav, who is facing corruption charges, will not resign as Bihar Deputy Chief Minister.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Meeting between Tejashwi Yadav with Nitish Kumar was routine: JD(U)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JD(U) today dubbed Tuesday’s meeting between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav as “routine,” reiterating that the deputy chief minister should clear all accusations against him on the basis of facts in the public domain.The JD(U) sought to dispel the notion that the impasse in the Grand Alliance government, cropping up after the lodging of an FIR by the CBI against Tejashwi Yadav allegedly for amassing huge wealth has ended following the nearly 45-minute meeting between Kumar and Yadav after the Cabinet meeting yesterday.Yadav is an accused in the land-for-hotels case, allegedly involving the members of his father Lalu Prasad’s family.”It was a routine meeting of a Cabinet colleague with the CM over some governmental matters and not a political one … Our stand remains the same that those facing accusations should reply to them in the public domain,” JD(U) spokesman Ajay Alok said, attaching no political significance to the yesterday’s meeting.Another JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan Prasad termed the meeting as “normal” in connection with governmental works.The RJD, however, rated high the meeting between Kumar and Yadav.”There is no matbhed (difference in opinion) between us.Grand Alliance is strong,” RJD leader and minister Vijay Prakash said.His elder brother and RJD MP Jay Prakash Yadav claimed “Everything is fine.”Former RJD minister Shivanand Tiwari, who is in constant touch with RJD president Lalu Prasad, said “after the talks, the situation arising out of lack of dialogue has ended and the vehicle is now back on track.”The meeting between the two leaders took place yesterday away from the media glare. Mediapersons were barred entry into the secretariat, the venue of the Cabinet meeting, following a scuffle between Tejashwi Yadav and his minister Tej Pratap Yadav’s securitymen and mediamen after the last one on Wednesday.The press briefing by the Cabinet Coordination Department Secretary Brajesh Mehrotra too was shifted to the Public Relations Department office some distance away instead of at the secretariat as in the past.The BJP and NDA leaders appeared unimpressed over the meeting and attacked Kumar for not taking a call on Yadav.Senior BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav urged Kumar to break his silence on Tejashwi Yadav.JD(U) has sought “point-by-point” clarification from Tejashwi Yadav over the accusations against him. “A closed door meeting between the chief minister and deputy chief minister is not the proper answer to it,” he told PTI.Former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi described the goings on in the Grand Alliance as “noora kushti” (friendly fight) to keep hanging to the power.”

Whether Tejaswi should resign or not is an internal matter of

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha today said whether Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav should resign or not in the wake of CBI FIR is an “internal” matter of the Grand Alliance and hoped that they would sort it out at the earliest in the interest of Bihar. He, however, said there had many example where a person is continuing in the ministry despite being charge sheeted or their case being at different stage in a court. “There are many persons cutting across party lines who are continuing as minister despite being charge sheeted or their case being at different stage in a court,” Sinha told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

JD(U) bats for underfire Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, decides to give him more time

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It seems like Bihar’s Grand Alliance is still hanging on. After a crucial meeting, JD(U) leaders said that they have decided to give more time to Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav. JDU’s Ramai Ram told ANI that they will discuss the issue after four days. Earlier, the Bihar Deputy CM and former Delhi Daredevil (though he didn’t play any matches) was seen enjoying knockabout with his nephew. A relaxed Tejaswi had put up pictures showing him playing cricket and he wrote on Twitter: ” Just play, have fun. Enjoy the game because sports don’t build character. They reveal it.” Earlier JD(U) party leaders made it clear that there would be “no compromise” with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s policy of “zero tolerance” against corruption. The RJD, which held its legislature party leaders meeting yesterday, has already thrown its weight behind Tejashwi and ruled out his resignation.Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav with CM Nitish Kumar (PTI) The BJP has offered its support to the JD(U) from outside if it breaks out of Grand Alliance comprising the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress.Meanwhile, some RJD ministers and legislators were seen going to the 10 Circular Road residence of Rabri Devi to reiterate support for Tejashwi Yadav.Ministers Alok Mehta and Vijay Prakash, party chief whip Lalit Yadav and MLAs Bhai Birendra and Sarabjeet were among them.RJD president Lalu Prasad at present is in Ranchi for appearance in a multi-crore fodder scam case. He is expected to return here by evening.Speaking to reporters, Lalit Yadav asked, “Has Tejashwi Yadav indulged in any corruption in his departments? So why this talk of zero tolerance with corruption being raked up?” Congress state unit president and minister Ashok Choudhary blamed the media for “creating sensation” and asserted the alliance was intact in the state.

Game, set and match always: PM Modi and Justin Trudeau bond over Indo-Canada tennis success

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PM Narendra Modi and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who met at the G20 Summit in Hamburg on Friday, seem to be continuing the friendly banter on Twitter. Lauding the French Open mixed double victory of Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski last month, Trudeau tweeted:This naturally drew a prompt response from our social media savvy PM, who had more words of praise.While Bopanna ​clinched his maiden Grand Slam title at the Roland Garros, Dabrowski became the first Canadian woman to win a Grand Slam trophy.The seventh-seeded Indo-Canadian pair staged a comeback after losing the opening set and defeated Lena Groenefeld and Farah 6-2, 2-6, 12-10 in a summit clash that lasted for one hour and six minutes at Court Philippe Chatrier. Reacting to the victory at that time, Bopanna said, “We relaxed a little more in the second set, and we started playing our game. I think we were trying to do too much as a team.Just because it was a final, we were trying to go for too much maybe on the returns or even on the serve, for me. After that first set we just stuck to what we do best. We started pushing each other, motivating each other. I think that’s what made the difference. Once the nerves calmed down, we played better tennis, the Indian explained further.”With the victory, Bopanna became only the fourth Indian to win a Grand Slam crown, following Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza.Meanwhile, Dabrowski ​said, “It’s very special, it’s something that you always dream about as a kid.”(With Agency Inputs)

Muslim group to offer prayers at dargah for construction of

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A team of a pro-Ram temple Muslim group will visit the Dewa Sharif Dargah in Barabanki district tomorrow to offer prayers and seek “divine intervention” in the early construction of a “grand” temple in Ayodhya. The visit by a 15-member team of the Shri Ram Mandir Nirman Muslim Karsewak Manch was announced after saints pledged to intensify their campaign for building the temple. “We will seek divine intervention for the construction of a grand temple for Ram Lalla in Ayodhya,” Mohd Azam Khan, the Manch president, told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Leaders of alliance should maintain restraint: Tejashwi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid war of words between ruling Grand Alliance partners JD(U) and RJD over their choice of different presidential poll candidates, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav today cautioned coalition leaders to maintain ‘restraint’ while issuing statements. “Leaders and workers of Grand Alliance should maintain restraint while making any statement,” Tejashwi said. Tejaswhi, the younger son of RJD president Prasad, also asserted that “the Grand Alliance is rock solid like the Himalaya.” “So far, no offensive statement has been made by JD(U) against RJD national president Lalu Prasad,” he said. Tejashwi’s statement comes in the backdrop of statements and counter statements being made by RJD and JD(U) leaders in the wake of the two parties deciding to back different candidates in the presidential poll. JD(U) has expressed its support for NDA presidential nominee Ramnath Kovind, former Bihar governor, while RJD and Congress are backing opposition candidate Meira Kumar, former Lok Sabha speaker. RJD sources said that Prasad has also asked his party spokesmen to dispel ‘confusion’ being run in media about the two coalition partners taking different paths on this issue. Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said that Nitish Kumar’s decision to support Kovind has come as a setback to the efforts to put up a nationwide ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) as an alternative to BJP. “We are tolerating them (JDU) and we will continue to tolerate them just to contain BJP,” Singh said. JD(U)’s state unit president Bashishtha Narayan Singh expressed displeasure over such a statement terming it as a clear violation of alliance’s dignity. “I will request Lalu Prasad ji to control such leaders,” state JD(U) chief spokesman Sanjay Singh said. The war of words started on June 22 after Prasad stated that he would appeal to Nitish Kumar not to commit “a historical blunder” by supporting Kovind. Prasad had made the comment after attending the opposition’s meeting that picked Meira Kumar as its candidate for President’s poll.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Prez election: Lalu Prasad Yadav again appeals to Nitish Kumar to reconsider decision on Kovind

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Friday again appealed to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar not to make a “historic blunder” by extending support to the NDA nominee for the presidential poll.Describing the combined opposition nominee Meira Kumar as “Bihar ki Beti” (daughter of Bihar), Prasad appealed to Kumar to “mend the historic blunder” of supporting NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind.”We are still treading on the path you had suggested to make the country ‘Sangh-mukt’…don’t know what made Kumar move away and extend support to a RSS man,” Prasad told reporters on his arrival at the Jayprakash Narayan Airport at Patna from New Delhi.The RJD president, however, made it clear that the divergent paths taken by his party and the JD(U) would have no impact on the Grand Alliance government in Bihar headed by Kumar.”There will be no impact of this (different views of the RJD and the JD(U)) on the Grand Alliance government in the future,” Prasad said.Bihar JD(U) president Basistha Narayan Singh repeated the party’s decision to support Kovind and made it clear that there was no going back on it.”Kovind as governor of Bihar walked hand-in-hand with the state government on the path of development…he has displayed attachment with Bihar,” Singh said.

BMC yet to take over land in custody of hotel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In December 2016, the state Lokayukta had directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take possession of 6,900 square metres (sqm) of land in three months time from Grand Hyatt, a plush suburban hotel. Even though the civic body took possession of the 3,000 sqm plot in February, 2017 the remaining 3,900 sqm is still in the hotel’s custody. It has been almost six months now and the BMC has failed to meet the deadline given by the state Lokayukta to acquire the plot from Grand Hyatt which it had occupied illegally.The five-star hotel is located in Santacruz and set up on 12 acres of land. The 6,900 sqm plot was encroached upon by the hotel and was being rented for wedding celebrations. The issue was brought to BMC’s notice only in 2013 by former corporator Brian Miranda from Congress. The hotel has applied for Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) for the 3,000 sqm plot which has already been handed over. Miranda has written to Lokayukta requesting intervention regarding the 3,900 sqm plot. He also requested that TDR should not be given until the entire 6,900 sqm plot is in the civic body’s custody.

Uphaar case: Delhi govt for rejection of Ansal’s mercy plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government today recommended rejection of the mercy petition of Gopal Ansal, who has been asked by the Supreme Court to serve the remainder of his one-year jail term in the Uphaar fire tragedy case. The development came a day after the kin of the victims of the Uphaar Grand cinema hall fire tragedy urged Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal not to consider Ansal’s plea. The cinema hall was owned by Ansal and his elder brother Sushil. Ansal had submitted a mercy petition to President Pranab Mukerjee, who forwarded it to the Union Home Ministry for its opinion. Subsequently, the ministry had sought the opinion of the Delhi government on the issue. “Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain has recommended rejection of Ansal’s mercy petition following a representation from the family members of the Uphaar tragedy victims,” said a senior government official. The Supreme Court had, on February 9, ordered real estate baron Ansal to serve the remaining part of his one-year jail term in connection with the case. On the same day, the apex court had given relief to Sushil, due to his advanced age, by exempting him from serving the remainder of his jail term. Both the brothers were also asked to pay Rs 30 crore each, which would be used to set up a trauma centre in the national capital. Fifty-nine people, trapped in the balcony of the Uphaar Grand cinema hall in the Green Park area of south Delhi, had died of asphyxia when a fire broke out during the screening of Bollywood movie ‘Border’ on June 13, 1997.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Four train passengers injured as protesters throw stones

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four passengers were injured when protesters threw stones at Alleppey Express in Dhanbad district today during the rail roko agitation called by the opposition parties to protest the closure of Dhanbad- Chandrapur railway line, police said. Protesters threw stones at Dhanbad-Alappuza Alleppey express on the Grand Chord line between Dhanbad and Nichitpur halt damaging windows of AC bogey in which four passengers including a woman were injured, the police said. After getting the information Dhanbad deputy commissioner, A Dodde, senior superintendent of police Manoj Ratan Chauthe and other officials reached spot and dispersed the protesters. Opposition parties – Congress, JMM, JD(U) – had given a call for a rail roko today to protest the closure of Dhanbad-Chandrapur railway line under Dhanbad Rail Division of East Central Railway (ECR). On June 12 Railway Board had announced closure of 34 km long Dhanbad-Chandrapura rail track due to raging underground mines fire. Earlier in the day, Congress leader and and former minister OP Lal, JD(U) state president Jaleswar Mahto, AJSU leader Subhas Ray and JMM leader Rajendra Prasad tried to stop train movement at Nischitpur halt but police detained them. After the four leaders were detained by police, their supporters damaged a dumper of BCCL at Guribandh colliery and a truck at Salanpur colliery, the police said. The protesters also stopped a good rain for some time but the police and RPF chased them away. Meanwhile, in Ranchi the BJP asked the JMM to ask the Congress what the latter did about the the underground fire. “Former chief minister (and JMM working president) Hemant Soren should question its ally Congress about the Chandrapura Rail line closure. The responsibility is of the Congress, and not the BJP s,” BJP s state unit spokesman Praveen Prabhakar said in a press release here. He claimed that the underground fire was known in 2005 and asked what the Congress did about it. Prabhakar said had the Manmohan Singh government taken timely step then people would not have faced any difficulty. The BJP leader claimed that both the Centre and the state governments have made enough efforts to provide facilities to the people. Some trains are being diverted while the railway board would soon take decision on some other trains, he said. Twenty-two buses have started plying on Chandrapura route, Prabhakar said. For an alternative route for Dhanbad-Chandrapura line, the government has already made a survey through RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service), which would be of 42 km long and would be completed in four years with Rs 3200 crore, Prabhakar said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC gives time till July 31 to Bihar liquor co to dispose stock

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Liquor manufacturers from Bihar today got an extension of two more months till July 31 from the Supreme Court for disposing of their old stocks of alcoholic beverages worth over Rs 200 crore outside the state. Earlier, the court had extended till May 31 the deadline of April 30 for disposing of old stocks, including raw material, fixed by the Nitish Kumar government which had imposed a ban on liquor in the state from April one last year. A vacation bench of Justices A K Sikri and Deepak Gupta took note of the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies, that the firms would be incurring huge losses if they are not allowed to dispose of their existing stocks of alcoholic beverages outside Bihar. The state government opposed the demand for extension of time, saying the firms were indulging in illegal liquor trade. “If they are engaging in illegal trade, then why don’t you (state) check them? Do you think that once the stocks are cleared, there would be no illegal trade,” the bench remarked. It, however, made clear to liquor firms that the deadline of July 31 would not be extended under any condition. The confederation, on May 24, had moved the apex court for extension of May 31 deadline. The apex court had on March 31 granted time till May 31 to these companies to dispose of the old stocks and directed them to follow the resolution passed by the Bihar government with regard to disposal of stocks following the imposition of prohibition in the state. The confederation, in its fresh plea, has said it was not possible to dispose of the old stocks worth over Rs 200 crore in such a short time as due procedure is to be followed for either destroying or exporting the stocks. It had said that the stock was lying in the ware houses of companies and the godowns of Bihar State Beverage Corporation (BSBCL) which needed to exported to other states or destroyed. Bihar government which has prohibited consumption, stocking and sale of liquor in the state had on March 30, passed a resolution by which it has allowed the companies to export their old stocks to other states. The state government had granted time to export the excisable and non-excisable articles till April 30, after which they will not be able to do so. On October 7, 2016, the apex court had stayed the operation of Patna High Court judgement quashing the state’s law banning sale and consumption of all types of liquor, saying liquor and fundamental rights “do not go together”. Bihar government has challenged the high court verdict of September 30, 2016, which had quashed the notification banning consumption and sale of liquor in the state. However, after the law was set aside, Bihar government had come out with a new law banning sale and consumption of liquor which was notified on October 2, 2016. It had notified the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 to ensure that the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol including Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) as well spiced and domestic liquor, continued in the state. While assailing the September 30, 2016 high court verdict, the state government had urged the apex court to decide whether the state can impose absolute prohibition on distribution and consumption of liquor and whether an individual can claim the right to consume liquor as his or her fundamental right under the Constitution. It had claimed that as a consequence of the high court order, the state government’s effort to bring in complete prohibition on liquor, in performance of its constitutional obligations, has been frustrated. The high court had on September 30, 2016 quashed the notification banning consumption and sale of alcohol in the state, saying it was ultra vires to the Constitution. The order was passed on a batch of petitions filed by the Liquor Trade Association and others, challenging the liquor law which had stringent penal provisions. Soon thereafter, the Bihar government brought in the new law banning liquor after including harsher provisions like arrest of all adults in a house where contraband was found. The Grand Secular Alliance government in Bihar had first banned manufacture, trade, sale and consumption of country- made liquor since April 1, 2016, but later imposed a blanket ban on all types of liquor, including foreign liquor, in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congress expels 48 candidates for their actions in MCD elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Wednesday expelled 48 candidates and 25 other members from the party’s Delhi unit after dismal performance in the current municipal elections. The Grand Old Party had managed to win only 31 of the 272 wards in the civic polls held in April.The number of the candidates expelled includes 15 from east, 16 from south and 17 from north MCD. Twenty five members, who were related to these 48 candidates, were also removed.The action was initiated against those who defied the party’s directions and contested against official Congress candidates or fielded their relatives in the MCD polls.”The decision to expel the rebels and their relatives who fought MCD elections against party candidates was taken unanimously in a meeting of the disciplinary committee,” said Narendra Nath, chairman of the disciplinary committee of the Delhi Congress.According to sources, the party is also going through complaints of anti-party activities by senior party leaders and will issue show cause notices after scrutiny of the complaints by party candidates.”Sitting Nangli Sakrawati councillor Satender Singh Rana was given a party ticket from Chhawla ward, but he fielded his wife against our candidate from Nangli ward,” Nath said.Similarly, the then sitting Kasturba Nagar ward councillor Ravi Kalshi, who was denied ticket, fielded his daughter-in-law against Congress. Both were expelled, he said.Ex-councillors Ramesh Pandit from Ghondli and Dharmender Singh have also been expelled from the party. The complaints of anti party activities were submitted under Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken’s instruction.There was discontent in a section of the party over ticket distribution under the leadership of Ajay Maken. Senior leaders including former CM Sheila Dikshit and ex ministers AK Walia and Arvinder Singh Lovely had raised questioned over Maken’s role.

Bihar liquor companies seek more time to dispose old stocks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Liquor manufacturers from Bihar today moved the Supreme Court seeking extension of time to dispose of their old stocks, including raw material, lying in their ware houses. The apex court had on March 31 granted time till May 31 to these companies to dispose of the old stocks and directed them to follow the ‘resolution’ passed by the Bihar government with regard to disposal of stocks following imposition of prohibition in the state. A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Navin Sinha today listed the matter for hearing on May 29, after senior advocate Amit Sibal appearing for the liquor manufacturers mentioned the matter. He said that it is not possible to dispose of the old stocks worth over Rs 200 crore in such a short period of time as due procedure is to be followed for either destroying or exporting the stocks. Sibal said that the stock is lying in the ware houses of companies and the godowns of Bihar State Beverage Corporation (BSBCL) which needs to exported to other states or destroyed. Bihar government which has prohibited consumption, stocking and sale of liquor in the state had on March 30, passed a resolution by which it has allowed the companies to export their old stocks to other states. The state government had granted time to export the excisable and non excisable articles till April 30, after which they will not be able to do so. On the plea of liquor manufacturers the apex court, however, had extended the time limit till May 31. On October 7, 2016, the apex court had stayed the operation of Patna High Court judgement quashing the state’s law banning sale and consumption of all types of liquor, saying liquor and fundamental rights “do not go together”. Bihar government has challenged the high court verdict of September 30, 2016, which had quashed the notification banning consumption and sale of liquor in the state. However, after the law was set aside, the state government had come out with a new law banning sale and consumption of liquor, which was notified on the Gandhi Jayanti day on October 2, 2016. It had notified the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 to ensure that the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol including Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) as well spiced and domestic liquor, continued in the state. While assailing the September 30, 2016, high court verdict, the Bihar government urged the apex court to decide whether the State can impose absolute prohibition on distribution and consumption of liquor and whether an individual can claim the right to consume liquor as his or her fundamental right under the Constitution. It had claimed that as a consequence of the high court order, the state government’s effort to bring in complete prohibition on liquor, in performance of its constitutional obligations, has been frustrated. The high court had on September 30, 2016 quashed the notification banning consumption and sale of alcohol in the state, saying it was ultra vires to the Constitution. The order was passed on a batch of petitions filed by the Liquor Trade Association and others, challenging the liquor law which had stringent penal provisions. Soon thereafter, Bihar government brought in the new law banning liquor after including harsher provisions like arrest of all adults in a house where contraband was found. The Grand Secular Alliance government in Bihar had first banned manufacture, trade, sale and consumption of country- made liquor since April 1, 2016, but later imposed a blanket ban on all types of liquor, including foreign liquor, in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong slams Maha govt for ‘decision to hire’ Agusta choppers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Congress today slammed the BJP-led state government’s decision “to hire” three helicopters of the controversial Agusta Westland company to ferry VVIPs, saying that the move has exposed the ruling party’s “double face” on corruption. However, the BJP countered the charge saying the ghost called Agusta Westland refuses to leave the Congress. The saffron party also claimed that the government has only appointed agencies to hire helicopters, although they had not been given directions as to which company’s services are to be used. The Maharashtra government recently decided to appoint two private aviation companies to assist it in hiring aircraft and helicopters on rental basis. The government has identified nine helicopters having seating capacity in the range of 5 to 10 people. As per the GR, the helicopters identified for hiring are: Bell 412 (Non AC), Bell 412 AC, Sikorsky S76 C++, Agusta Grand, MD 900, Bell 230, Bell 429, Agusta 109 P and Agusta 109E. The per hour hiring rate for these 9 helicopters range between Rs 1,78,500 for Agusta 109E to a maximum of Rs 2,89,500 per hour for Bell 412 AC helicopter. Expressing surprise and shock over the development, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) spokesman Sachin Sawant said, “Three helicopters- Agusta Grand, Agusta 109P and Agusta 109 E- from the controversial company are identified by the government through two private aviation companies.” “The previous UPA government had scrapped the deal with Agusta Westland and instituted a CBI/ED probe into the allegations of corruption and process of blacklisting the company and its subsidiary companies had begun. However, the probe did not take to its logical conclusion by the new government, which came to power in 2014,” he said in a press conference. “In fact, there were allegations that the company and its subsidiaries were part of procurement of 100 naval helicopters. The ‘Make in India’ and even Foreign Investment Promotion Board had given permission for them to enter into joint ventures. However, the Modi government had denied these allegations and said there was no compromise on corruption,” Sawant said. He claimed that even former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said that a request for proposal by the company were stopped and a note had been sent to the law ministry. “BJP President Amit Shah had said the Agusta Westland company was bogus and fraud. Now with the state government deciding to hire the company’s helicopters, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should clarify how these helicopters have made way into the state for flying VVIPs. “Is there any pressure on the state government to hire these helicopters? We even feel that the per hour hiring rate is too high as compared to the prevailing market rate. The rate contract should be probed,” Sawant said. MPCC demanded that the Chief Minister should come clean on its stand on corruption and also BJP president Amit Shah should clarify if the Fadnavis-led government was following the ideals of the BJP on the issue of graft. Reacting to Sawant’s charges, BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “The state government has only appointed agencies to hire helicopters. Which company’s helicopter should be hired has not been stated in the GR. Sawant is making such baseless allegations out of frustration.” “Two private agencies- Adonis and Aloft- appointed by the government through e-tendering have no connection with Agusta Westland. Before levelling charges, Sawant should have made a proper study,” he said. “There is a rule which states that a helicopter with a twin-engine be used for VVIPs as a safety measure. This rule is being followed strictly since 1981,” he stated. “There are many companies that manufacture twin-engine helicopters. And the agencies appointed by the government (to hire the helicopters) have been not been given any direction which company’s chopper they should hire,” he added. “The ghost called Augusta Westland refuses to leave the Congress. This (Agusta) case has its roots in Italy. Sawant also knows very well who was accused of taking a bribe,” Bhandari said. “When there is no mention of any company in the GR, how does the Congress see only Agusta Westland is a big question. The GR is self-evident and people are free to check it on the government website,” the BJP leader added. The UPA government had signed a deal with Agusta Westland for purchase of 12 helicopters to ferry VVIPs, but it was scrapped after reports appeared in Italy that the firm had paid kickbacks to Indian officials to clinch the deal. The CBI began probing the case in 2013.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Lalu calls for Bihar-like Grand Alliance for 2019 LS polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RJD president Lalu Prasad today appealed to the non-BJP parties to “sink their differences” and come together like the Grand Alliance in Bihar to defeat the saffron party in the next Lok Sabha polls. “I had a very serious fight with Nitish Kumar. But, to stop the surge of the BJP, we sank our differences and forged an alliance to defeat it in the 2015 Bihar polls,” he said. “Every party opposed to the BJP should sink its differences and come together to defeat it in the 2019 parliamentary election,” Prasad said after inaugurating a two-day training camp of the RJD here. He said “positive talks” have been held with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati to forge the alliance. JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi recently to give pace to the process of forging an alliance among the non-BJP parties. Prasad slammed the BJP and the RSS for “trying to divide the society in the name of mandir (temple), gau (cow), Kabristan (graveyard) and samshan (crematorium).” Alleging that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been “the worst” under the NDA government at the Centre, Prasad lamented the killing of army jawans by Pakistan and mockingly asked, “Where is the 56 inch chest?” (referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi). Calling upon the RJD workers to gear up for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, he asked them to avoid making unnecessary statements which create confusion. Prasad also sought to downplay reports of differences between the RJD and the JD(U) surfacing from time to time triggered by statements of some leaders from both sides and said the Grand Alliance is “united” in Bihar. The choice of venue for the RJD’s training camp at Rajgir is significant as it is in Kumar’s home district of Nalanda. Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav, RJD’s Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti, senior leaders and ministers like Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Alok Mehta, Shiv Chander Ram, state party chief Ramchandra Purbe, senior leader Jagdanand Singh and party national spokesman Manoj Jha were present at the training camp.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ashwani Kumar to be conferred with Japan’s top honour

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Japan has selected former union minister for Law and Justice Ashwani Kumar for this year’s Spring Imperial Decorations, for his contribution to strengthening of the bilateral ties and promotion of friendship between Tokyo and New Delhi. Kumar will be conferred with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest category of decorations among the Orders of the Rising Sun, in recognition of distinguished accomplishments of individuals. The Presentation Ceremony for the Investiture of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun will be held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 9. Ashwani Kumar served as the Special Envoy of former prime minister Manmohan Singh to Japan on the occasion of the visit of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan to India in December, 2013, and significantly contributed to the success of the visit. He was the Accompanying Minister to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he visited India in 2007, and was Chairman of FICCI India-Japan Forum of Parliamentarians established during the visit of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to India in 2005. Industrialist Ratan Tata was one of the other Indian recipients of the Decoration in the past.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Former minister Ashwani Kumar to get Japan Imperial Decoration

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union minister Ashwani Kumar has been selected by Japan for this year’s Spring Imperial Decorations, for his contribution to strengthening of bilateral ties and promotion of friendship between the two countries. The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest category of decorations among the Orders of the Rising Sun, is conferred in recognition of distinguished accomplishments of individuals. “The Presentation Ceremony for the Investiture of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun will be held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 9, when the foreign recipients will be given an audience with His Majesty the Emperor of Japan,” the Japanese Embassy here said today. The former minister for law and justice in the government of ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh will attend the presentation ceremony to receive the decoration, it said. “Kumar served as the Special Envoy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Japan on the occasion of the visit of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan to India in December, 2013, and significantly contributed to the success of the visit,” the embassy said in a statement. He was the Accompanying Minister to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he visited India in 2007, and was Chairman of FICCI India-Japan Forum of Parliamentarians established during the visit of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to India in 2005. “Kumar has also been contributing to the promotion of Japan-India relations in the field of Science and Technology, as Council member of the STS Forum,” it said. Noted industrialist Ratan Tata was one of the other Indian recipients of the Decoration in the past, it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Grand Alliance’ of non-BJP parties is need of hour- JD (U)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hailing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s suggestion that a ‘Grand Alliance’ of non-BJP parties is needed to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) on Tuesday asserted that such a coalition is the crying need of the hour. Speaking to ANI here, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said, “I agree with Nitish Kumar’s suggestion. They way the Opposition parties are scattered, it has benefitted BJP party. It is the crying need of the hour that the Opposition should unite together to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led-BJP party.” Resonating similar views, JD (U) member of the Rajya Sabha Pawan Verma said that the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ of non-BJP parties at the national level can be an effective challenge to the BJP. “It is important to remember that Nitish Kumar said this before the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections that if the opposition parties can come together on a basis of a credible narrative with an alternative agenda and vision for our country. This will be the effective challenge to the BJP,? Verma said Varma further stated that Nitish Kumar repeated his statement this time in particular to the Congress party which is the largest opposition party, so that they take their first step in this direction. “The question of leadership within the opposition parties will be resolved once you they have a credible alternative vision to present,” he added. Earlier on Monday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that a grand alliance of opposition parties, similar to that in Bihar on the national level could stop the dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “As the grand-alliance was successful here, if it is emulated on the national level, it could achieve grand success,” Kumar said. The Janata Dal United (JDU) leader said that he held talks with other Left leaders and the Congress in this regard and asked them to take an initiative to throw the BJP-led NDA alliance out of power. Kumar further said that being the oldest party, the Congress should take the responsibility of brining all other opposition parties on the same platform. The architect of grand alliance in Bihar said that there is no dearth of leaders for the post of Prime Minister.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Retired TNEB official killed, wife injured in mishap

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>: A retired official of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board died on the spot and his wife was injured when their car hit the wall of the bridge near a bypass road here and burst into flames, police said. Muthukumaraswamy (65) and his wife were returning to Tiruvarur after attending a function at a relative’s house here when the mishap occurred. He was driving the car, police said. They said the car hit the wall of the bridge at Grand Anaicut canal near a bypass road and burst into flames, killing him on the spot. Fire force personnel rushed to the spot, doused the flames and retrieved the body of Muthukumarasamy. His wife has been hospitalised, police said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bihar Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2017 passed in Assembly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state Assembly today passed the Bihar Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2017 to clear decks for withdrawal of the state’s annual budgetary provision of Rs 1.60 lakh crore for 2017-18 from the consolidated fund. The bill was passed by voice vote amid a walk out by NDA legislators expressing dissatisfaction over state Finance minister Abdul Bari Siddique’s reply to a debate on the bill. Earlier Siddique said the state government’s financial condition was healthy and under control. “Under the able leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the Grand Alliance government has identified development, poverty alleviation and fiscal stability as core agendas of the state government,” the minister said. He said the fact that the annual budget size has been increased by 10.03 per cent this year from last fiscal’s plan size, spoke volumes about the good financial condition of Bihar. The state government was committed to implement the Chief Minister’s ‘Saat Nischay’ (seven resolves), besides achieving its target on road construction and electricity supply, the minister said. He said keeping in view the financial condition, the norms for borrowing by the states under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 has been relaxed, allowing Bihar to borrow up to 3.5 per cent of the state GDP and a proposal was under consideration for allowing borrowing up to another 0.25 per cent. As on the date, the state’s borrowing stood at 23.92 per cent of the state GDP, which may go up to 25 per cent, Siddique said. The debate witnessed noisy scenes with BJP MLA Vinod Kumar Singh holding RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi for presiding over ‘jungle raj’ in Bihar, to which RJD members led by Bhola Yadav and Lalit Yadav protested. The ruling JD(U) and Congress MLAs too joined their RJD colleagues in slamming the BJP lawmaker’s remarks and demanded an apology from him. With both sides hardening stand, Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary expunged portions of Singh’s comments and urged members to allow the House to carry on with normal business. The Speaker also said that he would seek a clarification from the BJP MLA for his comments against the RJD leaders and warned the members against indulging in undignified conduct.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

From Captain’s roar to AAP’s failure: 5 reasons why Congress won in Punjab

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>And so, it has happened. At long last the Congress has some reason to cheer as it won in a state without sitting on a regional satrap’s lap or playing junior partner in an alliance to win. Facing electoral reverses since 2014, the Grand Old Party managed to stick it to the SAD-BJP, and upstarts AAP who threatened to steal their thunder. As of now, Congress has won 61 seats and are leading in 17. Meanwhile, AAP is predicted to end with a dismal 20 while SAD are also looking to end up with just 14. Here are some reasons why Congress stormed Punjab:Punjab Da CaptainIt’s ironic that the high command was dithering over whether to back the Amarinder faction or the Partap Singh Bajwa faction in the battle for the state Congress. Sanity prevailed and the party decided to back Amarinder Singh who is one of the last great regional leaders left.Before the elections, the Captain had exuded confidence, stating that the Badals had ripped apart the state’s ‘social, religion and economic’ fabric and stated that Kejriwal’s ‘hype had faded’. He had also attacked the AAP as a ‘party of outsiders’, made emotional appeals saying this was his last ride and played every card, and on his 75th birthday, the Captain took Congress home. If the high command tries to paint this as a victory for Rahul Gandhi, they ought to look at UP where Congress dragged down their alliance partners.Massive anti-incumbencyThe SAD-BJP alliance had ruled the state for 10 years and the public across the state seemed to be fed up with the Badals who they saw as the reason behind massive corruption, crony capitalism, poor economy, farmer suicides and a host of other issues. The state government was seen as the main cause for lacunae plaguing the border state and people wanted change. The real question was who they were going to vote for and it seems like Captain Amarinder’s appeal, combined with AAP’s constant dithering helped roll the dice in Congress’ favour.AAP falls flat on its face Twitter is not real life, and if AAP thought that attacking PM Modi 24/7 or constantly cribbing was a substitute for on-ground work, they were in for a shock reality check. AAP had bet big on both Punjab and Goa, with Kejriwal and other leaders giving the impression that ruling Delhi was almost an afterthought compared to campaigning in Punjab.The campaign was also marked by constant infighting, local leaders who disagreed with Kejriwal and left, sex scandals and accusations of cash for votes. AAP also failed to bring former BJP Rajya Sabha MP Navjot Singh Sidhu into the fold, who could’ve bolstered their attack. On the other hand, AAP also ended up giving the impression that they were an immature party and its constant state of agitation hardly suggested that they could a rule an important border state.The BJP didn’t go from two Lok Sabha seats in 1984 to 284 in 2014 overnight and the party put in a lot of work, aided by ground support from the RSS, to get here and AAP would do well to remember that you can’t launch a rocket from a pad that’s designed only for Zeppelins. There are no shortcuts to success and the presence in media channels with spokespersons isn’t a substitute for on-ground work. The Sidhu factorAAP missed a trick by failing to get Sidhu into the fold, and his arrival in Congress bolstered an already impressive campaign. While the former cricketer might be considered a comedian, who laughs at unfunny jokes on TV, in Punjab his influence is no laughing matter. During the campaign, he took great pleasure in using his considerable oratory skills to tickle the funny bone as he made jokes about the Badals and also Kejriwal who he likened to a cry baby with no solutions.Many experts had predicted that Sidhu’s entry would bolster the Congress and they turned out to be right.PM Modi non-factor One important aspect of the Punjab state elections compared to the rest of the states was that BJP didn’t contest separately, choosing to go with their alliance partners SAD despite the fact that they were facing massive incumbency. Perhaps it was an emotional choice, given the Badals have been together with the BJP for a long time, even when they weren’t a national force. They have also been sane alliance partners, unlike Shiv Sena, who constantly keep sniping and bickering. This meant that the Modi effect, which was a massive factor in other states, was missing in Punjab. Even though PM Modi came and made an appeal, citing OROP and other achievements, it was too late. Perhaps the BJP ought to have backed Sidhu and fought the elections on its own, but that’s only easy to say as an afterthought. As things stand now, Captain Amarinder Singh is ensuring that Congress-mukt Bharat is not a reality yet.

Indian businessman arrested in US over bomb threat, Sushma Swaraj seeks report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sought a report from the Indian Ambassador in the US on the arrest of a Baroda-based businessman at an airport in the American state of North Dakota.”I have asked for a report from Indian Ambassador in US @IndianEmbassyUS,” she tweeted in response to a tweet by the wife of the arrested Indian man.”Sushmaji, my husband Paraman Radhakrishnan is an honest man with a passion for energy conservation,” the wife tweeted to the minister.53-year-old Radhakrishnan was taken into custody at the Grand Forks International Airport by police for allegedly making a bomb threat at an airport as he told a travel agent that there was an explosive in his bag. He faces terrorism charges.Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel also sought Swaraj’s intervention for the release of Radhakrishnan.

Arrest of Guj-based bizman at US airport: Sushma seeks report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sought a report from the Indian Ambassador in the US on the arrest of a Baroda-based businessman at an airport in the American state of North Dakota. “I have asked for a report from Indian Ambassador in U.S. @IndianEmbassyUS,” she tweeted in response to a tweet by the wife of the arrested Indian man. “Sushmaji, my husband Paraman Radhakrishnan is an honest man with a passion for energy conservation,” the wife tweeted to the minister. 53-year-old Radhakrishnan was taken into custody at the Grand Forks International Airport by police for allegedly making a bomb threat at an airport as he told a travel agent that there was an explosive in his bag. He faces terrorism charges. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel also sought Swaraj’s intervention for the release of Radhakrishnan.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA Evening Must Reads: Republic Day 2017 list of Padma Awards, new Jallikattu act challenged and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1) Republic Day 2017: Complete list of Padma Vibushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri AwardeesPadma Awards – one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz.- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year. Read more…2) Jammu and Kashmir: Avalanche hits army camp at Sonamarg, five dead including an officerAn army officer and four members of a family were killed in avalanches in Ganderbal and Bandipora districts of Kashmir. An avalanche hit an army camp at Sonamarg in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district this morning, a police official said. He said an army officer — Major Amit of High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) — was buried under the debris of the avalanche. Read more…3) Animal welfare bodies move SC challenging new act allowing Jallikattu in Tamil NaduThe Animal Welfare Board of India and other animal welfare bodies on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the new Act allowing Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017 brought by Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, was on Monday adopted unanimously by a voice vote in the Assembly. The Bill would now be sent for the President’s approval. Read more…4) India ‘true friend’; President Trump, PM Modi extend invites to each otherDescribing India as a “true friend” of the US, President Donald Trump invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the country later this year, the White House said on Tuesday night after both leaders spoke over phone and discussed issues such as trade, defence and terrorism. “During a call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, President Trump emphasised that the US considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world,” the White House said in a readout of the call. Read more…5) Australian Open:Nadal deflates Raonic in straight sets to reach semisRafael Nadal claimed a dominant straight-sets win over world number three Milos Raonic to advance to the semi-finals at the Australian Open, in Melbourne on Wednesday.The 14-time Grand Slam champion was too clinical for the Canadian, winning 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 in two hours 44 minutes and will play Bulgaria’s 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov in Friday’s semi-final. He leads Dimitrov 7-1. Nadal kept alive hopes of a much-anticipated ninth Grand Slam final with his great rival Roger Federer as the tournament got down to the last four. It is the Spanish great’s first Grand Slam semi-final appearance since his last 2014 French Open triumph after recent injury setbacks. Read more…

Mohammad Shahabuddin posts a selfie from jail, goes viral on social media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jailed RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin has created yet another controversy with his purported selfie showing his changed look inside Siwan prison going viral on the social media. In the wake of the controversy, the Siwan district administration has conducted raids inside the jail. Officer in-charge of Muffasil police station Vinay Pratap Singh confirmed the raids inside Siwan jail on Saturday and said three mobile phones, four sim cards and two mobile batteries were seized.He, however, did not divulge if anything was seized from the cell of the controversial RJD leader. Siwan jail officials denied that a selfie was clicked by Shahabuddin and said some “well-wisher” who might have come to meet him could have taken the photo and posted it on the social media.Shahabuddin, a four-time RJD MP from Siwan, is currently lodged in Siwan jail after the Supreme Court cancelled hIs bail granted by the Patna High Court in connection with the killing of the prime witness in the murder of two brothers by pouring acid on them.Notorious and known for muscle-flexing, Shahabuddin is facing over 36 cases, including of murder and kidnapping. Meanwhile, RJD spokesman Ashok Sinha said that he could not confirm the veracity of the information. “The Grand Alliance government in Bihar, in which the RJD is a major constituent, does not compromise on any law-and-order issue,” he claimed.

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