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Congress blasts Modi govt’s foreign policy after Pulwama attack

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

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

‘Indian citizens excluded in draft NRC will get enough chance to prove credentials’

All Indian nationals, whose names were excluded in the first draft of the National Register of Citizens, will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials, a top Union Home Ministry official said today.The NRC is a list of the state’s citizens and as Assam anxiously awaits the publication of its part draft tonight, the official said people belonging to any creed, ethnicity or language were being treated equally and justice would be done to everyone with equal opportunities.”No one should have any notion that anyone or any particular community could be discriminated against. Everyone is treated equally and all Indian nationals will get adequate opportunities to prove their credentials in case their names are excluded in the first list,” the official said, requesting anonymity.Also readAASU demands error free NRC, says ‘no Bangladeshi coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay’After the publication of the first draft, second and third drafts will be published by the authorities before releasing the final list, said the official, who is in regular touch with the Assam government officials, who is monitoring the situation closely.”There is no need for panic. Genuine Indian citizens will not be deprived of their rights,” the official said.Army troops are on standby while a massive number of 45,000 security personnel were being deployed across Assam ahead of the publication of the first draft of the NRC.The Counter Insurgency (CI) grid, involving the Army, police, paramilitary and intelligence agencies, has been regularly reviewing the situation and directing all possible action to ensure peace.There have been intelligence inputs about possible tension in some parts of the state where names of doubtful citizens could be excluded in the draft list, another official said.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba spent two days in the state last week, reviewing preparations for the publication of the part draft of the NRC and security arrangements, as ensuring peace in the state is a top priority for the Centre and the state government.Also readIndian citizenship: SC says claims of left out persons to be included in subsequent NRC for AssamAssam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday also sought to dispel apprehensions and said “genuine” Indians missing from the citizenship register would get enough opportunities to incorporate their names.The exercise to update the NRC is being carried out in Assam following a decision in 2005 after a series of meetings between the central and state governments and the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in an attempt to document the bona fide Indian citizens living the state.Assam, which faced influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.The current exercise, started in 2005 under the then Congress regime, got a major push only after the BJP came to power in the state with illegal immigration from Bangladesh as a poll plank.The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the entire process, had ordered that the first draft of the NRC be published by December 31 after completing the scrutiny of over two crore claims along with that of around 38 lakh people whose documents were suspect.Of the 3.28 crore applications submitted, there was confusion over the inclusion of 29 lakh people who had submitted certificates issued by ‘gram panchayats’ as proof of identity, after a Gauhati High Court order in February had deemed ‘panchayat’ certificates invalid, the official said.Also readRelease draft NRC by Dec 31: SCThe Supreme Court set aside the high court order and upheld the validity of the certificates as identity proof if they were followed up with proper verification.The apex court also asked authorities to stick to the original deadline for the publication of the draft NRC and include names of those whose claims were verified.When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens then.The process of identification of illegal immigrants in Assam has been debated and become a contentious issue in the state’s politics.A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the AASU in 1979.It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985 in the presence of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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

Rules relaxed post PM Modi’s suggestion, 1300 Muslim women to go for Haj without male companion

1300 Muslim women will go on Haj this year without “mehram” or male companion as they have been exempted from the lottery system and will proceed to the pilgrimage directly, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi announced today. The announcement came soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion that Muslim women who have applied to go for Haj without “mehram” should get preference.Terming the policy of allowing Muslim women to perform Haj only in the company of a male guardian as “injustice, ” PM Modi said that he has suggested to the Ministry of Minority Affairs that they should ensure that all women who have applied to travel alone be allowed to perform Haj.In his monthly radio address of ‘Mann ki baat’, Modi said his government removed the restriction following which hundreds of women have applied to travel alone for the pilgrimage.According to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, now Muslim women aged above 45 are allowed to go for the pilgrimage without ‘mehram’ in a group of at least four.Also readMann Ki Baat: PM Modi hails Anjum Bashir’s Kashmir Civil Service exam featAfter Modi’s radio programme, Naqvi announced on Twitter that all 1300 women applicants will be exempted from the lottery system.”After PM Shri @narendramodi Ji‘s suggestion, I assure that those about 1300 women, who have applied to go for Haj without “Mehram” (male companion), will be exempted from the lottery system and allowed to proceed on Haj. #MannKiBaat,” Naqvi said. In his last radio programme of the year, the prime minister said removal of the restriction of having a male guardian or ‘mehram’ may appear as a “small thing”, but such issues “have a far-reaching impact on our image as a society”.He said when he first heard of the restriction, he was surprised as to who would have drafted such a rule.”Why this discrimination? And when I went into the depth of the matter I was surprised to find that even after 70 years of our independence, we were the ones who had imposed these restrictions. For decades, injustice was being rendered to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it,” he said in his broadcast.He pointed out that such a restriction is not prevalent in many Islamic countries.”I am happy to note that this time about 1300 Muslim women have applied to perform Haj without ‘mehram’ and women from different parts of the country from Kerala to north India, have expressed their wish to go for the Haj pilgrimage,” he said.He said he has suggested to the Ministry of Minority Affairs that they should ensure that all women who have applied to travel alone be allowed to perform Haj.Also readMann ki Baat highlights: PM Narendra Modi shares his 2018 vision, says new India will be free from corruption”Usually there is a lottery system for selection of Haj pilgrims but I would like that single women pilgrims should be excluded from this lottery system and they should be given a chance as a special category,” he said.He said it is his firm belief that the journey of India?s progress has been possible due to women-power and on the basis of their talent…It should be our constant endeavour that our women also get equal rights and equal opportunities…,” he said.While referring to Muslim women and their rights, the prime minister did not mention about the bill passed by Lok Sabha last week which bans the practice of instant triple talaq.He, however, had referred to the issue of instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ while inaugurating the 85th Sivagiri Pilgrimage Celebrations at Sivagiri Mutt in Kerala via video conference this morning.Referring to Christmas, Modi said Jesus Christ taught us about the spirit of service or ‘sewa bhaav’.”Be it any religion, caste or creed, tradition or colour in this world; the spirit of service is an invaluable hallmark of the highest human values,” he said.He also recalled the life of Guru Gobind Singh which was full of instances of courage and sacrifice.On the 350th anniversary of the Sikh guru, he said Guru Gobind Singh preached the virtues of sublime human values and at the same time, practiced them in his own life in letter and spirit.(With PTI inputs)

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

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

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

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

Mann ki Baat highlights: PM Narendra Modi shares his 2018 vision, says new India will be free from corruption

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses nation in last and final edition of Mann ki Batt for the year 2017. PM Modi took to Twitter to invite people to share ideas for the programme for his radio show. In the previous edition of ‘Mann ki Baat’ on November 26, Prime Minister Modi acknowledged his gratitude for the soldiers and saluted martyrs of the 26/11 attack in Mumbai. Also readFixing accountability: PM Modi asks 6 pointed questions to BJP MPs on Namo App He said that ‘the nation remembers the “brave women and men” who lost their lives.’ He also spoke about spreading positivity in the coming new year. PM Modi’s address has been broadcasted live on All India Radio. Listeners can also tune in to the program on Doordarshan and live stream it on the official YouTube channel of Narendra Modi.Also readTamil Nadu: Rajinikanth to float political party, says, will contest next assembly pollsHere are the highlightsAlso readLok Sabha Bill seeks to curb big, fat Indian wedding11:30: PM Modi concludes 39th edition of Mann ki Baat11:30: India looks forward to welcoming ASEAN leaders for Republic Day 2018 celebrations. This is the first time that so many leaders will attend the celebrations as the chief guests, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi.11:30: PM Modi talks about Haj Yatra benefits for Muslim women. 11:27: This Republic day, India will have 10 chief guests, PM Modi says. 11:20: PM Modi announces the biggest cleanliness survey that will begin in January. 11:18: New India will be free from poison of casteism, communalism, terrorism and corruption; free from dirt & poverty: PM Narendra Modi11:18: PM Modi cites example of Sabrimala temple while talking about cleanliness11:17: PM Narendra Modi sets tone for 2018, says let’s welcome the new year with positivity and hope. 11:16: PM Modi talks about positive events happened in 2017. He shares positive messages from listeners across the nation. 11:14: We need to free nation from poverty, says PM Narendra Modi11:13: As it is said in India- ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’ (Service is one’s prime duty), let us rekindle this spirit of service in our hearts: PM Narendra Modi11:10: PM Modi pitches for organising mock parliament across nations, where youth representatives can discuss the methods to make development a mass movement and transform India 11:07: First January is special. We welcome those born in the 21st century to the democratic system as they will become eligible voters: Prime Minister Narendra Modi11:05: PM Narendra Modi pays tribute to Guru Gobind Singh. 11:00: PM Narendra Modi wishes Happy New Year to the citizens10:58: PM Modi’s radio programme has emerged as the most trending hashtag on Twitter in 2017 in the news and governance category, the micro-blogging platform said on Thursday.10:56 PM: This is the 39th edition of the Prime Minister’s radio programme. The programme on the last Sunday of every month is broadcast on All India Radio, DD National and DD News.

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

BJP all set to ‘show strength’ in refinery foundation ceremony

The programme schedule of foundation ceremony of Pachpadra refinery by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 14 is not out yet but the administration has made the preparations faster. Here, the Bharatiya Janata Party has started to formulate a strategy to show its strength in the program of the prime minister. Despite years of the strong hold, Congress in Marwar won only two of the 33 assembly seats in the last assembly elections. That is why BJP has focused on Marwar to keep the victory alive. In order to make Marwar ‘Congress-free’, the BJP state president himself has visited Barmer and Jodhpur five times in the last three months. Efforts are being made to strengthen the BJP from booth functioning to the state level.State president of BJP, Ashok Parnami arrived in Jodhpur on Saturday afternoon. He took a meeting of the Jodhpur division MLAs regarding Prime Minister’s program. In this meeting, while giving the lesson to strengthen the BJP in their area, they have been given the target of mobilizing supporters of Modi in the program. The BJP wants to showcase a big power in the presence of the Prime Minister during this program. The MLAs of Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Pali, Jalore and Sirohi have been given a target to bring crowds in buses along with the activists in the program. While Talking to media, he targeted the Congress and especially the former chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, about the refinery. Describing the leadership of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje as proficient, he said that she has done good for the people by saving 40,000 crores in refinery cost.It is worth mentioning that former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot presented the Pachpadra refinery as his ambitious project before the last assembly elections. Then the Congress had also demonstrated power at the earlier foundation ceremony. On the same lines, describing as the huge achievement of the Vasundhara government for reducing the cost of this project and renewing the MOU with HPCL, BJP is working on the strategy to surround the previous government.Here, Barmer-Jaisalmer former MP Harish Chaudhary has also come out in front opposing the re-foundation ceremony of the refinery by the Prime Minister. He said that the then national president of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi, has done foundation ceremony of the refinery on September 22, 2013. Now, what is the justification to again have a foundation ceremony by the Prime Minister? He said that the strategy is being formulated to protest the foundation ceremony. Soon, it will be announced at the state level to protest against this program.

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

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

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

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

Raj brand ambassadors for ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’

To spread the reach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship programme ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, the BJP will appoint brand ambassadors in all the 41 organisational districts across the state. Along with it, in every mandal, 1,000 workers of the party will have to take a selfie with their daughters and also a hospital will be adopted at the mandal level.Moreover, the state BJP’s frontal unit ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Prakalp’ has given all the workers a two-month work plan, under which 11 types of programmes will have to be organised within two months at mandal and district level. The plan was chalked out during the meeting of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Prakalp Pramukh, Dr Meena Asopa. Besides, under the ‘Selfie With Daughter programme’, selfies should be taken with daughters of at least 1,000 party workers. The name of the person who took the selfie, his mobile number, address and selfie will be saved in a pen drive and will be sent to the state headquarters.The mandal unit of the border area will also be organising a programme with the Army personnel. Apart from this, each mandal unit will have to adopt the hospital in its area and on January 9, a programme will be organised under the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign.To further ensure the success of the campaign, the district unit of the prakalp has been instructed to collect data from the girl students of colleges and universities in their area. Apart from this, the movie, Smile Pinki will be shown in schools and colleges and Kanya Pooja along with other programmes will also be held.Instructions were also given about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s event to be held in Jhunjhun on January 22. The teams of prakalp will have to be present at the programme. The entire team of the parkalp will be wearing the apron with the logo of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ Abhiyan on it.Selfie with girlUnder the ‘Selfie With Daughter’ programme, selfies should be taken with daughters of at least 1,000 party workers Their details will be saved in a pen drive and sent to BJP state HQs.

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

DNA Special: Centre’s air action plan in line with court order

Centre’s 12-point draft Air Action Plan — prepared by a task force under the Prime Minister’s Office — is not in conflict with anti-pollution measures approved by the Supreme Court (SC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT), CK Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) told DNA. Mishra said that the action plan to tackle pollution in Delhi-NCR was in fact based on the template provided by the courts.A task-force set up under the chairmanship of Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister released its own 12-point draft action plan earlier this week to seek public suggestions and comments. “This is an action plan, where we have decided on certain focus issues after discussion. Whatever has been said by NGT or earlier by the Supreme Court is sacrosanct, and we are implementing that,” Mishra told DNA.Authorities in Delhi are currently bound by court orders to implement emergency anti-pollution measures as per two different action plans. One is the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) prepared by the SC-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, and the other is a graded plan NGT formulated in a judgment earlier this week. These action plans have come in the wake of toxic smog episodes that Delhi experienced in the winter of 2016 and 2017. Pollution levels at some pockets in Delhi were 13-14 times than the normal limit, which could even make a healthy person unwell.Mishra added that the draft plan will be fine-tuned keeping in mind the existing action plans, and Centre would continue to implement them even as its own plan is being prepared. “Court’s mandate is the overarching direction we are following. These are some of the issues we have picked up from the discussions and court’s mandate. We have also made it open to the public, largely because if there is some innovative idea we have not thought of, let people tell us.”The Centre’s 12-point action plan has sought to focus on tackling broad issues such as crop stubble burning, curbing industrial pollution, solid waste management, curbing dust pollution, enhancing public transport and reducing road congestion. It includes measures such as curtailment of Nitrogen Dioxide from power plants in a time-bound manner and creation of a dashboard for monitoring the most polluting industries.Even as the Centre seeks to curb pollution from thermal power plants, it has already allowed them 16 new power plants to emit sulphur and nitrogen pollutants above permissible limits, relaxing its December 2017 deadline to limit emissions.Point of focusThe 12-point action plan seeks to focus on tackling issues such as crop stubble burning, curbing industrial pollution, solid waste management, curbing dust pollution, enhancing public transport and reducing road congestion.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
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Mumbai fire: BMC’s demolition drive against illegal structures in Kamala Mills area

A day after 14 people including 11 women died in a midnight blaze in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) carried out demolition drive against illegal structures in the area on Saturday. BMC officials have made a list of restaurants which appear to have flouted the rules and appropriate action will be taken against these restaurants. Now, after the Kamala Mills fire, BMC officers have sprung into action. But earlier, despite BMC administration being aware that the restaurants were running illegally in Kamla Mills compound, it delayed action in the name of following standard operating procedure. While F South ward of BMC delayed action against Mojo’s Bistro and 1 Above, it took action against four such pub and bars in its jurisdiction on Friday soon after the huge fire reported on the midnight of Friday.In view of December 31 gathering in various restaurants, all concerned departments have been directed by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to form teams which should include fire staff to inspect all restaurants. The teams must ensure that the restaurants are fire compliant. All the fire escape routes, staircases, and open spaces should be encroachment-free. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has already ordered an inquiry into the incident. The police on Saturday issued a lookout notice against all the accused in the case. Also, as a preventive measure, airports across the country have been put on high-alert and five teams of the Mumbai Police have been formed to search for the accused.Related Photos
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In Pics: The day after Kamala Mills blaze, families mournChief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday took a stock of the situation and ordered a BMC commissioner to conduct an inquiry. Five BMC officials were suspended and the Mumbai Police booked the owner of the pub for negligence, besides other charges.

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Situation better in Naxal-hit areas, J&K: Rajnath Singh

Lauding the security establishment, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said the situation in conflict zones like Jammu and Kashmir, North East and Naxal-hit areas had improved.He said this during an inter-ministerial meeting convened to discuss development issues in Jammu and Kashmir, Left Wing Extremism-affected states and the Northeast region.The Home Minister said that the overall security situation in the country had shown considerable improvement, an official statement said.Those who attended the meeting included Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha among others.The meeting discussed issues related to increasing the limit of general approval under the Forest Conservation Act from five hectares to 40 hectares for all linear projects, upgradation of 2,187 mobile towers installed in Phase-I and installation of 4,072 mobile towers in Phase-II, the Home Ministry statement read.Functioning of approved 1,789 post offices, approval for additional 4,173 post offices in the 106 LWE- affected districts and provision of banking services in these post offices were also discussed.Education infrastructure with the opening of additional Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and Kendriya Vidyalayas, opening of additional girls hostels and upgradation of schools in Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and extension of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in Naxal areas was also discussed.Provision of solar pumps, lamps and street lights in LWE -affected districts, improvement of communication infrastructure in the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Ladakh region, and Lakshadweep were discussed.Strengthening of the education infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir was discussed at length.THE AGENDAThe Home Minister said that the overall security situation in the country had shown improvement. Functioning of approved 1,789 post offices, approval for additional 4,173 post offices in the 106 LWE- affected districts.

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Kamala Mills fire: 14 killed in inferno during birthday bash, BMC suspends 5 officials after Fadnavis promises action

A massive fire swept through a plush rooftop pub in downtown Mumbai during a birthday bash before swiftly raging through the building, leaving 14 people dead and 21 injured, officials said today.Among those killed was Khushbu Bansali, the woman who was celebrating her 29th birthday at “1 Above” pub in upscale Parel’s Kamala Mill compound, and several of her friends.Two American brothers of Indian origin, and their aunt, who had gone to celebrate Khushbu’s birthday, were also among the dead.The blaze, the cause of which is not clear yet, started after 12.30 am at the 1 Above pub on the terrace, resulting in collapse of its bamboo-propped canopy, as towering flames leapt metres into the dark sky. It also engulfed the Mojo’s Bistro pub a storey below.Most of the victims died of asphyxiation, said Avinash Supe, dean of the KEM hospital where the injured and dead were brought.Also readKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this pictureThe mirth and merriment of the party gave way to mayhem as people, screaming and scamparing, looked for exit doors, toppling and trampling over each other.Some escaped to safety, while others found their way blocked by fire and suffocating smoke.Many panicked patrons took shelter in a toilet, and got asphyxiated to death. Some could make it out alive.Teams of fire brigade and police rushed to the spot and 35 injured people were pulled out from inside the pub and taken to hospital, a police official said.Several media outlets, including TV news channels Times Now, ET Now and TV9 Marathi, have offices in the complex.Harish Pathak, head of the forensic department at KEM Hospital said most of those who lost their lives in the tragedy were brought dead.Police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under various charges including cuplable homicide not amounting to murder.They have also been charged under IPC sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).Two of those booked have been detained. The civic body of the megapolis-BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation–suspended its five officials belonging to various branches over their role in the incident.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed anguish over the tragedy.”Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.Also readKamala Mills tragedy: Pub claims fire emanated from ‘adjoining quarters,’ rejects cops’ version on safety violations Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner to hold an enquiry and submit a report within 15 days.”Five (civic) officials have already been suspended and appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code will be invoked against the owners of the pub, making them responsible for the loss of lives. The guilty won’t be spared,” Fadnavis said.Business rivals–1 Above and Mojo’s Bistro–that bore the brunt of the inferno, claimed all fire safety measures were in place at their premises.However, 1 Above claimed Mojo’s Bistro did not have an emergency exit, leading to overcrowding of its escape avenues.”1 Above has all its fire safety regulations, licences, procedures and norms in place. We’ve been able to help save many lives thanks to our fire safety protocols,” the statement claimed.A statement from Mojo’s claimed the facility had all its fire safety norms, certificates and procedures in place.The staff, it said, was “thoroughly trained” in fire drills due to which the guests could be evacuated.Some patrons of ‘1 Above’ casually took selfies of the massive flames and plumes of smoke that soared into the sky, while a few others lay immobilised in drunken stupor, delaying evacuation, eyewitnesses and rescuers said.”At around ten minutes past midnight, I got out of my office after hearing commotion. A sea of people came rushing at me. They were basically running wherever the pathway led them to,” Mahesh Sable, who works for a private security agency and helped evacuate around 150 people from the Trade House Building, told PTI.”We could hear calls for help, glasses were breaking, bottles were falling down, the entire place was in flames and engulfed by smoke. I could not go in again after getting the injured people out,” he said.His colleague Sanjay Giri, who was also on the night shift, said he was on the ground floor and rushed up to guide the patrons who were stuck.Also readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral Giri said initially the drunken stupor of some of the patrons and an obsession with getting videos of the rooftop pub engulfed in fire delayed rescue efforts.”I guided whoever we could see. It was later, after we went down, that they told us about their relatives and friends being stuck in the toilet. A few voice and video calls were also made,” Giri added.One of the survivors told a TV news channel that her friend, who had got locked inside a toilet, called her up on the mobile phone desperately seeking help. She could not be brought out alive.Dr Sulbha KG Arora, a Mumbai doctor, told NDTV news channel, she was at the 1 Above restaurant.”There was no time for anyone to reach out because the fire spread so rapidly. The staff members of the restaurant were trying to help the customers as much as possible,” she told NDTV on the phone.”There was a stampede and someone pushed me. People were running over me even as the ceiling above me was collapsing in flames,” she said separately in a tweet. “Still don’t know how I got out alive.”

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New NHM results reverse outcomes for most candidates

Following the outcry over the discrepancies in the results of the Uttar Pradesh National Health Mission written exam for the posts of nurses and other staff, the results have been reversed and those who were earlier declared pass were failed and vice versa.After the Yogi Adityanath government order, the NHM published revised results, in which those in the general category, who had been declared fail, were declared passed, while reserved category candidates —who were earlier declared successful — were flunked.A total of 3,814 candidates were declared successful in the revised results tabulated with new cut-off marks for general (33 per cent), OBC (30 per cent) and 24 per cent for the SC/ST following the controversy over results declared on December 22.A general category candidate, who had obtained 64 out of 90 marks and was declared failed, has now been deemed selected in the revised result. Similarly, reserved category candidates who had scored a paltry 3 and 8 out of 90were declared failed in the revision.Thus, a total of 258 reserved category candidates who had obtained less than 24 per cent marks and were declared successful earlier have now failed to qualify for interviews.Taking a serious note of the irregularities, the Adityanath government had ordered a probe and suspended the General Manager Human Resources (HR) NHM Sandeep Saxena. A show cause notice was also slappedon NHM Director Pankaj Kumar.State Health Minister Dr Siddharth Nath Singh has assured strict action against erring officials after the probe is completed. “We have already placed the HR Head under suspension for a free and fair probe. Further action would be taken against officials responsible for the goof-up once the inquiry is over and report submitted,” said the minister.

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We must save Constitution: Rahul Gandhi to party

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

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Vasundhara Raje briefs officials ahead of PM Modi visit

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

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Pakistan forced them to ‘look like widows’

Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother were made to look like widows when they met him in Islamabad three days ago, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in a scathing attack on Pakistan’s ill-treatment of the family of India’s former Naval officer.The two women’s attire was changed, and Jadhav’s mother, who wears a sari, was forced to wear salwar-kurta. Both were made forced to remove bindis, bangles and mangal sutra, Swaraj said, drawing cries of “shame” from parliamentarians.The minister made an identical four-page statement in both Houses of Parliament on Thursday and described Pakistan’s behaviour as “obnoxious” and said there was a serious and gross violation of human rights.Jadhav, 47, has been sentenced to death for espionage and terror. India has rejected the charges and said he was kidnapped and implicated. Jadhav’s mother told Swaraj that her son asked about his father on seeing her without bindi or mangalsutra.”Avanti Jadhav choked up as she told me the first question her son asked was — how is Baba? He feared something bad had happened… he was reassured only when he saw his wife in the same state,” Swaraj said.When she tried to speak in their mother tongue Marathi across the thick glass wall between them, two Pakistani officials interrupted and the intercom was closed.All Opposition parties unequivocally endorsed and supported Swaraj’s statement condemning the mistreatment of Jadhav’s wife Chetankul and mother Avanti by Pakistan. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the hanging in May till the case is conclusively heard, on India’s petition against the farce trial.Swaraj said there was an intimidating atmosphere created for them during the meeting. “There are not enough words to condemn the same.” she said, adding that in a departure of agreed understanding “the emotional moment between and mother and son and wife and husband after 22 months was misused by Pakistan as an instrument to further its propaganda.MPs cutting across political divide condemned the ill-treatment. From treasury benches, Swaraj’s impassioned and hard-hitting statement was interluded with slogans of ‘Pakistan Murdabad’.In violation of a clear agreement on not allowing Pakistani media a close access to the mother and the wife, they were subjected to harassment and offensive language was hurled at them by journalists, Swaraj said.The two women told her that Jadhav appeared under considerable stress and was speaking in an atmosphere of coercion, the minister said. They could surmise that “his remarks were tutored by his captors and designed to perpetuate the false narrative of his alleged activities, she said.The minister said the government is “now engaged in seeking a permanent relief, based on stronger arguments, through the legal avenue offered by the ICJ.On Pakistani authorities sending the shoes worn by Jadhav’s wife for forensic testing to examine the alleged presence of “a metallic object”, Swaraj said she took a flight to Dubai first and then went to Pakistan and no alarms were raised then.Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said, “The entire House joins together to appreciate the efforts and also call upon the government to safely secure the release of Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav and also to convey to international community the way Pakistan behaved in a most inhuman manner.”Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said India cannot tolerate the misconduct as it is an insult and humiliation to 130 crore Indians. He urged the government to ensure Jadhav remains safe so long as he is in Pakistan’s custody.”Regardless of political differences, when it comes to the country’s dignity, we will stand together and if another country misbehaves with our mothers and sisters, it will not be tolerated,” Azad said.

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

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

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

J&K: Tassaduq Mufti joins sister Mehbooba’s cabinet, gets tourism portfolio

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today allotted the key tourism portfolio to her younger brother Tassaduq Mufti who along with another PDP legislator Javaid Mustafa Mir was inducted into the state cabinet.According to an order issued by the chief minister, Tassaduq Mufti was allotted the tourism ministry, a portfolio earlier with Mehbooba Mufti.Mir was given the portfolios of disaster management, relief and rehabilitation, and reconstruction and floriculture, the order said.In addition, the state’s Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs minister Abdul Rehman Veeri was given additional portfolio of Hajj and Auqaf, while Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Social Welfare, Health and Medical Education Asiea Naqash was given the additional charge of power development, industries and commerce.Minister of State for Forest, Environment, Animal Sheep Husbandry, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Mir Zahoor Ahmad was given additional charge of public health engineering, irrigation and flood control.Also readMufti Tassaduq to be PDP candidate for Anantnag LS seatOn December 22, Minister of State Haj and Aquaf (Independent Charge), Power Development Department, Public Health Engineering, Irrigation and Flood Control and Industries and commerce Syed Farooq Andrabi resigned as a prelude to the inclusion of Tassaduq Mufti into the cabinet.

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

A Central team today visited parts of Chennai and Kanyakumari districts to assess the damage caused by torrential rains and cyclone Ockhi.While one group visited parts of Chennai and its neighbourhood, the otherheld discussions with fisherfolk in Kanyakumari, which was battered by Ockhi last month.Members of the fishing and farming communities expressed their grievances to the team members.Relatives of missing fishermen wanted the government to expedite search and rescue of the fishermen still missing in the aftermath of the cyclone.Revenue Secretary B Chandramohan told reporters here that the team will continue their survey of the affected areas in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur till tomorrow.The officials will study the extent of damage to roads, infrastructure, loss of lives and areas that faced inundation during the downpour in these districts.It will later submit its report to the Centre, he added.The Central team, headed by Sanjeev Kumar Jindal, Joint Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, is likely to meet Chief Minister K Palaniswami tomorrow.The team members are drawn from various central ministries like Finance, Power and Water Resources, according to officials.The state government had sought a central relief package of about Rs 9,300 crore from Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards taking up rehabilitation efforts in cyclone-hit areas of the state, including Kanyakumari, during his visit to the district post-Ockhi.The state government had wanted the Centre to declare the cyclone as a “national disaster” on account of its “severity.”It sought Rs 5,255 crore assistance towards implementing permanent rehabilitation measures in Kanyakumari and another Rs 4,047 crore to cater to other parts of the state, including Chennai, affected by the north east monsoon.

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

No proposal to reconsider Air India privatisation, govt informs Lok Sabha

There is no proposal to reconsider the decision to privatise Air India, which has an outstanding debt of Rs 51,890 crore, the government informed Parliament today. To revive the loss-making national carrier, the government is working on the modalities for its strategic disinvestment.To a question in the Lok Sabha on whether the government proposes to reconsider its decision to sell out the debt- ridden Air India and its auxiliary companies, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha replied in the negative.The total outstanding loans of Air India as on September 30, 2017 stand at Rs 51,890 crore as per provisional figures cited by Sinha. Of this, aircraft loans account for Rs 18,364 crore and working capital loans are at Rs 33,526 crore.In 2016-17, the airline had a net loss of Rs 3,643 crore, while operating profit rose to Rs 215 crore, the provisional figures showed.Also readAir India’s domestic, global ops to be sold together, says Jayant SinhaThe government also informed Parliament that there had been a ban on direct recruitment in Air India for non- operational categories of employees and that the total number of regular employees of Air India as on November, 2017, is approximately 14,006 down from approximately 32,600 at the time of its merger in August 2007.On June 28 this year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries.Also readIndiGo, several other private airlines interested in buying Air India: Jayant SinhaAn Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is working on the modalities.

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

Chhattisgarh: CBI court grants bail to journalist Vinod Verma in ‘sex tape’ extortion case

A special CBI court on Thursday granted bail to journalist Vinod Verma for allegedly extorting a BJP minister over a sex tape.In November this year, Verma had claimed that he had a sex tape of BJP leader Rajesh Munat, who later said that it was fake. Verma was allegedly blackmailing him, which resulted in his arrest.The police seized over 300 CDs from Verma’s house. The Ghaziabad Police confirmed that the journalist’s laptop and pen drive were also taken away. The case was registered against Verma at the Pandri Police Station of Raipur district under sections 384 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.The senior journalist, who is also an executive member of the Editors Guild of India, was part of the fact-finding team looking into the intimidation of journalists in Chhattisgarh.On November 6, a Chhattisgarh court had rejected Verma’s bail plea, saying the arguments put forward could not be discussed during a hearing on bail and that the charges against the journalist were serious.After the journalist’s arrest, the “sex-video”, allegedly involving Chhattisgarh’s Public Works Department Minister Rajesh Munat, surfaced in Raipur, triggering a political storm with opposition Congress and ruling BJP targeting each other on the issue.The Chhattisgarh government has recommended a CBI probe into the alleged sex CD row.Munat had told reporters that Verma and the Congress were trying to tarnish his image through the “fake” CD.Subsequently, the minister had lodged a complaint against Verma and Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel at the Civil?Lines police station in Raipur

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Sonia Gandhi holidays in Goa as son Rahul leads Congress in protests against govt

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who earlier this month retired as the Congress President as her son Rahul took over, is vacationing in Goa and was seen riding a bicycle in the coastal city. A picture of the longest serving Congress President riding her bicycle and posing for photos with tourists was posted by actor Riteish Deshmukh.Some pictures of the Raebareli MP in Goa were also posted by news18.com. The report said that Sonia left for Goa on December 26 and is expected to be back in the first week of January.While Sonia is spending time in Goa, her son Rahul today led the party in celebrating Congress’ 133rd foundation day. He also participated in a protest by the Congress MPs in front of Gandhi statu inside Parliament premises over Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s comments on the Constitution.He took charge of the party from his mother on December 16. On December 15, a day before Rahul’s elevation, Sonia had said that “my role is to retire,” triggering speculation that she might quit active politics. The party, however, soon clarified that she was retiring from party, not politics.Her daughter Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra also announced that her mother would again contest from Raebareli Parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.Also readCongress Foundation Day | Constitution under threat, it’s our duty to defend it, says Rahul GandhiSonia, 71, took charge of the Congress party in 1998 and and served at the post for 19 years.

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New law has ensured development of areas in which mines are located: Centre

A new law, which has made it mandatory for spending of a part of revenue made from auctioning mines in developing the areas they are located in, has resulted in improved living conditions of people in these regions, government claimed today.Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Lok Sabha that district mineral foundations, which were created after the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act came into being, have received Rs 13,398 crore and Rs 2,260 crore have been spent so far in developing local areas.This money will be spent on the affected people and areas, Tomar said while replying to a question during the Question Hour.”The changes in the MMDR Act are benefiting people. Their living condition is changing,” he said.To supplementaries regarding the steps Centre has taken to curb illegal mining, he said the law against it has been made more stringent as it now entails five-year jail term and Rs 5 lakh fine instead of a two-year term and Rs 25,000 fine earlier.States have also been asked to set up special courts to try cases of illegal mining, Tomar said.To a question from NK Premachandran (RSP) about lack of action against illegal miners in Kerala, the minister said it was for the states to act against them.Tomar also acknowledged that there was a crisis in the availability of sand and his cabinet colleague Nitin Gadkari, who is in charge of highway constructions, has also spoken about it.A committee under the mining secretary has been formed to ensure easier availability of sand, he said.The government has made it mandatory to auction mines of major minerals, he said, adding it has suggested to the states to go for auctions of minor mines too.Nine states have earned Rs 1.69 lakh crore by auctioning 33 of 88 blocks of mines, he said.

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Union Minister Anant Hegde apologises for ‘change Constitution’ remark in Parliament, says it is ‘supreme for me’

In an effort to end the logjam in Parliament, Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde on Thursday apologised in the Lok Sabha for his ‘change Constitution’ remark.The apology comes days after the Minister of State for Skill Development had said at an event in Karnataka that he respects the Constitution but “it will be changed in the days to come”.The remark sparked a political controversy with the Congress demanding Hegde’s resignation.’If anyone was hurt by my statements I tender an apology,’ Hegde said in the Lok Sabha after Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge objected to his clarification.Ahead of the Winter Session proceedings, Hegde also said that the ‘Constitution is supreme to me.’Talking to the reporters outside Parliament, Hegde said, “I deeply respect the Constitution, the Parliament & Baba Saheb Ambedkar. The Constitution is supreme for me, there can be no question on it, as a citizen I can never go against it.”Hegde, a five-time Lok Sabha member from Uttara Kannada, is no stranger to controversies. A case was registered against him for allegedly using derogatory language against Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at Kittur in Belagavi district.He had been slapped with cases for his “hate speeches”, including one where he allegedly equated Islam with terrorism.

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‘Jammu and Kashmir extremely safe destination for women travelling alone’

Thanks to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), tourism honchos are cashing in on the positive indicators about women safety to promote the sector in order to ensure the increased footfalls of tourists to the valley.The 2016 NCRB report has revealed that Jammu and Kashmir recorded zero crimes against the foreigners, bringing smiles on the sullen faces of the tourism players in the valley.According to NCRB report, 382 crimes were committed against foreigners in India, of which 154 were committed in Delhi alone. Accordingly, 12 foreigners were murdered, 19 raped, 19 robbed and 38 foreign women assaulted in the country.“J&K is an extremely safe destination for women travelling alone. The feedback from women travelers from all over has been tremendous with respect to how safe they felt there”, said Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department.Post Burhan Wani killing unrest has cost the hotel industry Rs 1100 crore. Curfews, hartals, stone pelting and encounters have shaken the confidence of the tourists who have given Kashmir a miss after the killing of Burhan Wani on July 8 last yearFigures reveal around 7.9 lakh tourists visited Kashmir this year. They include over 2.6 lakh Amarnath yatries who visited the cave shrine this year. Last year 11.27 lakh tourists visit Kashmir most of them before July 8 when Burhan Wani was killed.Official figures reveal that the tourism sector suffered a loss of Rs 3000 crore due to the unrest in 2016. Official data revealed that around three lakh tourists had visited Kashmir between July 2015 and September 2015. The footfalls of tourist, however, were reduced to a trickle in the corresponding period of 2016 because of the post-Burhan Wani killing unrest. Tourism players are hoping that NCRB figures will help in diluting the negative perceptions about Kashmir. “People have apprehensions about visiting Kashmir, but I must tell you that Jammu and Kashmir is one of the safest tourist destinations”, said Priya Sethi, Jammu and Kashmir Minister of State for tourism.

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School fees: State welcomes HC ruling, asks schools to comply

Day 1 of the new government in Gujarat turned out to be a celebration as the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday upheld the state government’s law to regulate school fees. Rejecting around 40 petitions opposing it, a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi upheld the Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017. The Bill was introduced by the BJP government early this year.Welcoming the judgment, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “This is a historic judgment. We will implement the judgment with immediate effect. We are happy that the court has also not entertained any kind of stay in this order.””Under the leadership of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the state government was firm to implement the Bill since the beginning. Now that the judgment has come, we will not let schools charge a heavy fee as per their wish,” Chudasama said.Through this judgment, middle-class families and students will benefit a lot. Schools who were pressurising parents for higher fees will be in docks and parents will get respite from all sorts of pressure, he added.After the Act was passed in April, the state government had formed zone-wise fee regulation committees (FRC) and had started the process. As per the judgment, schools that did not approach the FRC will have to approach the FRC with a proposal in three weeks from the date of the judgment.As per a statement released from the state government, 1,101 schools did not increase any fee for the 2016-17 academic year in Ahmedabad zone. Of the 12,402 schools that had filed affidavits, order for 9,453 schools has been passed. Nearly 2,987 schools had approached high court out of which 584 are primary and 2,403 are secondary and higher secondary schools. Those schools whose hearing has been over, order will be pronounced soon.Nearly 80 schools reduced more than Rs 10k fee:As result of the Act, 77 schools including 74 from Ahmedabad and 3 from Rajkot reduced more than Rs 10,000 in their fee. Speaking about the same, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “37,60,112 students will be benefitted. I am grateful to the schools that reduced their fees after this Act. Due to good intent of many schools, they had reduced their fees sometime back.”KEY FACTSOrder on schools approached FRC soon Schools will have to give refund, if any, in 15 days If disobeyed, 1% inte-rest will be levied every day

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CM Vijay Rupani inaugurates Science Congress

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

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After Talkathon, doctors spike strike

After a marathon eight-hour talk and intervention of four ministers and state BJP president, the in-service doctors agreed to call off their 12-day strike on Wednesday.As per the agreement signed between All Rajasthan In Service Doctors Association (ARISDA) ARISDA and the govrnment, demands, including removal of the officer of Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) Girish Parashar from the health department and adjustment of leaves taken by doctors during their agitation in earlier months of this year agitation, with their earned leaves has been accepted. The agreement also reiterates the execution of the agreement done on November 12 and withdrawal of cases registered against doctors, under Rajasthan Essential Services Management Act (RESMA), during their agitation.About the recent transfers that forced the doctors to go on strike for second time in two months, nothing was mentioned in the agreement, but later on Ashok Parnami state BJP president said that ARISDA president Dr Ajay Chaudhary will be posted as Chief Medical & Health Officer (CM&HO) in Sikar.During the talks a seven-point agreement also signed between the government and resident doctors. As per the agreement, government has given assurance to initiate proceeding over demands related to stipend appreciation, hostel or transit quarters allotment, pay fixation, revised LPC, benefits payment according to 7th pay commission and age limit increase for senior residents.In the talks with doctors and resident doctors, Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf, Health Minister (state) Banshidhar Bajiya, PWD Minister Yunus Khan, Co-operative Minister Ajay Singh Kilak, State BJP President Ashok Parnami, Principal Secretary (Health) Veenu Gupta, and Secretary (Medical Education) Anand Kumar were present. PRESCRIPTIONDuring the talks, a seven-point agreement was also signed between the government and resident doctors The government has given assurance to initiate proceeding over demands related to stipend appreciation, hostel or transit quarters allotment, pay fixation, revised LPC, benefits payment according to 7th pay commission and age limit increase for senior residents

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Sibling rivalry: MK Alagir blames MK Stalin for the RK Nagar defeat

After the DMK’s humiliating loss in the RK Nagar Assembly seat bypoll, party chief M Karunanidhi’s elder son and former union minister MK Alagir blamed his younger sibling MK Stalin’s for the loss saying that he did not do enough field work.Alagiri who was expelled from the party in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 for anti-party activities said leave alone the RK Nagar bypoll, the party would not win any election as long as Stalin leads the party. His comments have come ahead of the party’s high-level executive committee meeting to be held here on Friday.Rejecting the Stalin’s statement blaming money power for the election defeat, Alagiri, in an interview to a Tamil magazine, said, “There is a strong resentment against both the ruling party and the main opposition party in RK Nagar. Otherwise, how come an independent candidate Dhinakaran, placed 33rd on the ballot box list, got a resounding victory?””See, you should get down to the ground and do fieldwork. Merely going around in a jeep cannot fetch you votes,” Alagiri said, recalling how his dad Karunanidhi used to call him several times in a day to keep a tab of bypoll campaigning works when he used to oversee such elections.Alagiri, the Madurai-based strongman, had helped the DMK win successive by-elections in 2006-11 when his party was in power in the state. He was then accused by opposition parties of masterminding money distribution to voters in the Thirumangalam Assembly bypoll which was infamously called as “Thirumangalam formula”.The ruling AIADMK latched onto Alagiri’s comments to take potshots at Stalin. “Alagiri has said DMK cannot win (under Stalin’s leadership)… His (Stalin’s) own brother has said so,” senior AIADMK leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said, without elaborating.After the Alagiri’s expulsion in 2014, Stalin was appointed as party’s working president in January this year.POWER PLAYAlagiri and Stalin had been involved in a long-running feud in the DMK’s first family with both contending to be their father’s political heir. A former Union minister, Alagiri had once famously asked if the DMK was a ‘mutt’ where a senior pontiff could appoint his successor, indicating that he was always in the reckoning.

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Didn’t consult Muslim bodies before drafting triple talaq bill: PP Chaudhary

A day before the bill banning triple talaq is going to be tabled in Parliament, Minister of State for Law and Justice PP Chaudhary, admitted that Muslim groups were not consulted before drafting the bill.Chaudhary’s admission comes days after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) opposed the bill. “The terms set out in the proposed bill not only encroach upon the constitutional guarantees granted to religious minorities, but are also against the very essence of the verdict delivered by the Supreme Court on August 22, 2017 in instant triple divorce matter,” AIMPLB spokesman Maulana Sajjad Nomani said after an emergency meeting on the issue in Lucknow earlier this week.Responding to a question in Parliament, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad admitted that so far 66 cases against instant triple talaq have been reported since the practice was struck down.According to the list of businesses, Prasad is set to introduce The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the Lok Sabha.The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, that was drafted in record time since the Supreme Court struck it down by a 3:2 majority in August, has come under fire from the Opposition and various women’s rights groups.The law proposes to empower the victim to approach a magistrate seeking ‘subsistence allowance’ for herself and her minor children. An aggrieved woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.This law is a non-bailable, cognisable offence and applicable to the entire country except Jammu and Kashmir.The bill seeks to criminalise instant triple talaq by imposing a prison term of up to three years and fine on husbands who violate the law. The proposed law is only applicable to talaq-e-biddat’ or the instant triple talaq through any means — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp.In August, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had struck down the practice of instant triple talaq in a 3:2 judgment. While three of the judges declared the practice unconstitutional, two judges wanted the practice banned for six months till the government came up with a new legislation. The draft bill — penned by an interministerial committee was released in record time on December 1.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh headed the interministerial committee that prepared the draft. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and ministry of state P P Chaudhary were on the panel that helped draft the law. However, the women and child development ministry, which drafted the Centre’s affidavit in the matter along with interministerial consultations with the PMO, finance minister Arun Jaitley, home minister Rajnath Singh and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that they were not approached to be part of the committee.

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Usually cordial on Twitter, Sushma Swaraj blocks Cong MP

Twitter-savvy External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has blocked one of her fellow parliamentarians and Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab Partap Singh Bajwa on the social media platform.Bajwa told DNA that Swaraj, otherwise open to helping people who reach out to her on Twitter, had done so as he had been asking her difficult question in the Parliament to nail the Centre’s “lie” on the 39 Indians who had gone missing in Iraq after they were kidnapped by Islamic State and who are considered ‘not dead’ by the external affairs ministry.”This is not the way one of the most senior minister of the government ought to behave. It is our right to ask her questions and it is her duty to respond. I was not even aware of this development. A few days ago, I tried tweeting to the PM and her regarding the plight of Sikhs in the Hangu district of Pakistani Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where they are being forced to convert. To my surprise, I saw that she had blocked me on Twitter,” Bajwa said.”I decided to tweet about it today (Wednesday) because in the intervening days, the Parliament was not working. I follow not her, but the external affairs minister. If she blocks an MP, then it is completely insensitive.”Bajwa also accused the government of trying to hide the truth. “For the past two or three sessions, I have been grappling with her to come clean. The eyewitness is from our Gurdaspur and he told us that all of them had been shot dead in the desert. Swaraj had said that the witness was misleading the government. She has repeatedly said the government will get them back, later claiming that they were all alive and have been tied up as bonded labour in Mosul, but this was repudiated by the Iraqi premier,” said Bajwa.”I believe that she was initially misled. She realised that a false stand had been put up in the Parliament, but now they are not ready to change their stand.”

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Stone pelting goes down, but terror incident increase in Kashmir

The number of stone-pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir have come down to less than half, as compared to last year, till November 2017 even though terror related incidents increased.The total number of stone-pelting incidents have decreased from 2,808 in 2016 to 1,198 till November this year, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.”The incidents of stone-pelting against security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are reported to be 2,808 during the year 2016 and 1,198 till November this year,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said while replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.The number of terror incidents this year was recorded at 337 till December 14 this year — the highest since 2011. The number was 332 last year. There was an increase in violence in the conflict-hit state since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.Security forces have killed 210 terrorists this year, going well beyond last year’s 150.Ahir said that an adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to assist the state government in maintaining public order.”It is not considered appropriate to disclose the level of deployment of the security forces,” Ahir said, replying to another question in this regard.

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Central govt in no hurry to push through Women’s Reservation Bill

Despite overwhelming numbers in the Lok Sabha, there seems to be no urgency by the Centre to seek passage of 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill or the Women Reservation legislation to reserve 33% seats in elected bodies for fairer sex.On Wednesday, Minister of State for Law and Justice, PP Chaudhary, ducked a question in Lok Sabha, saying the government was awaiting a consensus among all political parties to seek passage of this Bill. The proposed legislation was passed by the Upper House seven years ago. Since then it awaits the nod of the Lower House, where the ruling BJP and its allies have an overwhelming majority. The number of MPs from the SP, RJD, BSP, who had been opposing the Bill, has trickled down.The minister told the House that the government endeavoured “to provide for reservation of one-third seats for women in the House of the People and the State Legislative Assemblies”. However, he conveniently passed the buck and placed the onus of passing the Bill on consensus among all parties.Being a Constitution Amendment, it requires a special treatment for its passage — that is a majority of the total membership of the House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House present during the time of voting. A total of 63 women are MPs against 471 men. And women account for 21.6 per cent in the Cabinet — of the 37 members, only eight women hold various portfolios in the Lok Sabha, which means women representatives are at a mere 11.80 per cent.

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Week-long impasse ends after meeting

More than a week-long impasse in the Parliament on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s insinuating remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh finally ended on Wednesday with Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley clarifying that the PM Modi in his speeches “neither questioned nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either Dr Manmohan Singh, or Hamid Ansari.”The breakthrough came after the BJP relented to Congress’ demand in a backdoor meeting between Jaitley and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. Congress, too, agreed that it would accept the clarification by Jaitley on behalf of the PM Modi.The Rajya Sabha met at 2 pm after getting adjourned twice in the pre-lunch session on the issue of minister of state for skill development Ananth Kumar Hegde’s alleged remarks against the Constitution.Azad said there was no question of party succumbing to any pressure and decided to accept the clarification from Jaitley on behalf of the PM because it did not want the impasse to continue as they wanted to pin the government on several issues.Referring to the removal of bindi, mangalsutra and changing of clothes of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife at the behest of Pakistani authorities an insult to 1.3 billion Indians, Azad said, “As Indians we strongly protest and want to show our displeasure on the floor of the House.”As per the understanding the clarification was to happen right in the morning with the start of proceedings but the House got disrupted with other opposition parties demanding discussion on Minister of State for Skill Development, Ananth Kumar Hegde’s controversial remarks against the Constitution. Not to lose out, Congress too entered the arena demanding resignation of Hegde both as minister and MP.”If he does not believe in the Indian Constitution, he has no right to be a Member of Parliament or Minister,” Azad said.Sukhendu Sekhar Ray of TMC asked Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to give ruling if “a person, holding the post of Minister, has right to denounce Preamble in public and can he continue as a minister in the Government?”CALMING EFFECTBreakthrough came after the BJP relented to Congress’ demand in a backdoor meeting between Jaitley and Ghulam Nabi Azad. Jaitley also clarified that PM Modi in his speeches ‘neither questioned nor meant to question Dr Singh’s commitment to nation’

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Jai Ram Thakur now part of NextGen Saffron

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

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‘Hawkers not allowed here’: RPF fines Dabbawalas

Dabbawalas have written to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal seeking resolution of the issues they face at suburban stations after the Railway Protection Force (RPF) on Monday fined some of them for parking their bicycles outside Grant Road station, stating that “hawkers” were not allowed outside station premises.After a stampede on Elphinstone Road foot overbridge killed 22 people on September 29, the authorities have been driving hawkers out of railway station premises across the city.According to the Mumbai Dabbawala Association, they have been treated as hawkers by the RPF at various stations, such as Kandivali, Borivali and Bhayandar, for the past few months.On Monday, the RPF confiscated eight cycles belonging to dabbawalas that were parked outside Grant Road station and asked them to cough up a fine.Subhash Talekar, spokesperson for Mumbai Dabbawala Association, said, “We have shot off a letter to the railway minister regarding the issue. Cycle is an important means of transport for us. We should not be called hawkers just because we have to park our cycles near railway stations. We keep our cycles there just for some minutes while exchanging tiffin boxes. The authorities should keep this in mind before slapping a fine on us and terming us hawkers. We request the officials to exempt us from these charges.”Earlier, three cycles from Borivali and four from Bhayandar railway station were confiscated; they belonged to dabbawalas. Talekar said this happened a few weeks ago and they had to pay a fine “but on Tuesday the court said we should be let go without being charged a fine.”

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Himachal CM, 11 ministers take charge

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

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Don’t attend Modern school event, CM Devendra Fadnavis urged

The parents submitted the letter to the CM on December 26. It has also been sent to the school’s alumnus, Cabinet Minister Chandrakant Patil. The school said the parents have a vested interest. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Correpondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 28 December 2017 1:30 ISTMust readOn Day 2, Mumbai commuters warm up to AC localMumbai Metro authorities don’t see the need to increase coaches despite commuter rise<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Parents of students of Indian Education Society’s Modern English School in Dadar have written to CM Devendra Fadnavis, requesting him not to accept the school’s invitation to inaugurate a Shivaji statue in Hindu Colony for its centennial celebrations on Friday, because complaints against the management over fee hike are pending before the Bombay High Court.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>The parents submitted the letter to the CM on December 26. It has also been sent to the school’s alumnus, Cabinet Minister Chandrakant Patil. The school said the parents have a vested interest.

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AAP sharpens attack after LG rejects home delivery scheme

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

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Blocked by Sushma Swaraj on Twitter for asking ‘tough questions’: Congress MP Bajwa

Sushma Swaraj has gained fame in the Twitterverse for always coming to help of Indians and foreigners stranded, who are in need of visa or any diplomatic assistance. Infact, External Affairs Minister’s Twitter diplomacy has earned her bipartisan praise and even applause from international quarters. However, there seems to be one politician who is unhappy with Sushma Swaraj’s Twitter habits. It is senior Congress leader from Punjab and currently Member of Parliament, Partap Singh Bajwa. On Wednesday, Partap Singh Bajwa from his verified handle posted a screenshot of being blocked on Twitter by External Affairs Minister. Bajwa claims that he was merely asking questions about the missing 39 Indians in Iraq. MEA so far has said that according to their last known information, the Indians are alive, but they haven’t been able to locate them. Bajwa claims that he was blocked merely for asking ‘tough questions’. Now, politicians in general and even Sushma Swaraj have resorted to blocking abusive trolls and sometimes people who constantly pester with similar rants. But this is probably the first time when a MP has been blocked by his colleague. Swaraj is currently followed by 10.8 million people. Probably in the torrent of replies she gets with every tweet, the fact that a MP was being blocked was overlooked.

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Pakistan’s ISI trying to revive pro-Khalistan movement for anti-India activities: Govt

Operatives of Pakistan’s espionage agency ISI are making efforts through moral and financial support to revive pro-Khalistan elements for anti- India activities, the government informed the Rajya Sabha today.Certain elements in Pakistan are providing funds to separatists for secessionist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir as well, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in response to a question.”Inputs indicate that ISI operatives are making efforts towards moral/financial support to pro-Khalistan elements for anti-India activities as well as to revive militancy in Punjab,” he said.He said the government has adopted an integrated approach to counter the attempts to revive militancy. This includes sustained vigilance along the borders, strengthening of mechanisms for intelligence gathering and sharing.”A close watch is maintained on the activities of various groups known to have been engaged in trying to foment terrorist activities. Necessary action is taken so as to maintain peace and harmony in the State,” he said.

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Modi’s Pak comment: After Jaitley’s clarification, Govt and Oppn end stalemate in RS

The stalemate in Parliament over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh and others at a poll rally in Gujarat ended today, with the government saying the commitment of the former Prime Minister was not questioned.The proceedings of both Houses of Parliament were repeatedly disrupted over the past week on the issue, with the Opposition demanding an explanation from the Prime Minister over his “conspiracy with Pak” remarks and seeking an apology. In Rajya Sabha, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said the Prime Minister did not question his predecessor’s commitment to India.When the Upper House reconvened at 2 PM after adjournment due to protests over union minister Ananthkumar Hegde’s controversial remarks on secularism and changing the Constitution, Jaitley said the Prime Minister in his statements or speeches “did not question the commitment to this nation either by Dr Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister, or Hamid Ansari, the former Vice President”. “Any such perception is completely erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem, as also their commitment to this nation,” Jaitley said.Also readParliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanksHe said many statements had been made on all sides during the elections, and added that the government “does not want the stalemate as a result of this to continue”. Responding to his statement, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “I want to thank the Leader of the House that he issued a clarification on the issue which was causing the deadlock for the last one week.” Azad sought to assure the government on behalf of the Congress that the party dissociates itself from any statement made against the personality of the Prime Minister, apparently in reference to those made by its MP Mani Shankar Aiyar.”If during the elections (recent assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh), any member of our party gave such a statement that was against the stature of the Prime Minister, then our party dissociates itself from any such statement and we would not want any word to be said against the stature of the Prime Minister,” Azad said. The Congress had suspended Aiyar from its primary membership and slapped a show cause notice on him for calling Prime Minister Modi a “neech aadmi” or a lowly person.After the two statements, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu thanked all members of the House for their cooperation in resolving the stalemate. However, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal stood up to object, charging that the fate of the proceedings in the House could not be decided based on statements by only two people. To this, Naidu said, “We discussed it in the morning in the business advisory committee. Every member of the House is important. Let us not sidetrack the issue”.

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

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

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UP govt sends letter to Gorakhpur DM to withdraw 1995 case against Yogi Adityanath, 10 others

The Yogi Adityanath government on December 21 ordered the withdrawal of a 1995 case in which the chief minister, along with Shiv Pratap Shukla (now Minister of State for Finance at the Centre), Sheetal Pandey (BJP MLA from Sahajanwa) and 10others were booked for violating prohibitory orders.On December 20, the state government sent a letter to the District Magistrate, Gorakhpur, directing that an application be filed to withdraw the case before the court. The government order stated that based on a letter received from the District Magistrate on October 27 and after scrutinising facts of the case, it had been decided to withdraw the case. The letter mentioned the names of Yogi Adityanath, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Sheetal Pandey and ten others.The Chief Secretary Rajive Kumar has issued directions that all District Magistrates of the state withdraw cases under Sections 144 of the IPC 107 and 109 of the CrPC. The Chief Secretary has asked DMs to prepare a list of such cases in their respective districts and file appeals in designated courts in the light of the state government order.Besides Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, cases against Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, UPCC Chief Raj Babbar, Leader of Opposition Ram Gobind Chaudharay and several BJP, SP, BSP and Congress MPs, MLAs, leaders and workers would be dropped.A home department spokesperson said that the State government will also file an appeal in the Allahabad High Court requesting directions to the lower courts for withdrawal of cases against politicians in the light of Amendment into the Act.It is, however, a different matter that crime graph in UP is on the rise even after police tightening noose around hardcore criminals. It was due to this reason, the state government had introduced UPCOCA (UP Control of Organized Crime Act) which was passed by the UP Assembly but requires assent from the Upper House.During debate on UPCOCA, the Chief Minister had announced that his government has initiated a process to withdraw as many as 20,000 cases against politicians across party lines. He had stated that the move was aimed at reducing the pendency of cases in lower courts.“These cases were usually petty cases registered by the police against political leaders and workers for staging a dharna and holding demonstrations. They go on in lower courts for years and need to be closed,” he had stated in UP Assembly.The opposition has welcomed the state government’s decision. “We welcome the step but along with politicians, the state government should also withdraw cases against innocent people,” suggested Rajendra Chief Chowdhary Spokesperson, Samajwadi Party.The former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had also withdrawn about 1800 cases against party leaders and workers during his tenure.

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Post Cyclone Ockhi relief work, 845 lives saved, but 661 fishermen missing

The defence forces and other agencies involved in rescue operations when Cyclone Ockhi battered southern India saved 845 lives, but 661 fishermen still remain missing, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha today.In a written response to a question, Sitharaman said the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard saved the lives of 821 people until December 20.Another 24 lives were saved by other agencies, including merchant navy vessels.Of the total 845 people rescued, 453 were from Tamil Nadu, 362 from Kerala, and 30 from Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.However, Sitharaman said 661 fishermen were still missing.The majority of those untraceable are from Tamil Nadu (400) and Kerala (261), the worst hit states when Cyclone Ockhi swept through the coastlines of southern India.The cyclone had caught many fishermen off guard after it formed quickly in the Arabian Sea in early December.Replying to another question, Sitharaman’s deputy and minister of state in the defence ministry, Subhash Bhamre, said admission of girl child has been approved in Sainik School in Chhingchhip, Mizoram, from academic session 2018- 2019.On another question, Bhamre sought to allay the fears of defence personnel, and said there has been no downgrading or change in the exisiting equivalance of the service ranks vis- a-vis their civilian counterparts.

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Telecom dept directs ISPs to block 4,694 URLs containing child sexual abuse content

The Telecom Department (DoT) has directed internet service providers (ISPs) to block 4,694 URLs that contained material related to child sexual abuse, Parliament was informed today.Besides, instructions for blocking 1,791 Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) including Facebook pages and YouTube videos have been issued by the DoT to ISPs in 2016 and 2017 (till November 30), Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.”DoT has directed ISPs to block the list of 4,694 URLs of child sexual abuse material as provided by Central Bureau of Investigation,” Sinha said.Also, a total of 2,133 URLs were blocked in order to comply with the directions of various courts in 2016 and 2017 (till November 30), he added.Sinha said ISPs implement blocking of internet websites/ URLs by using suitable technology.”However, at present, technically it is not feasible to block specific items or content contained in a particular URL/webpage,” he noted.In response to a separate query, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Alphons Kannanthanam said a total of 587, 964, and 1,329 URLs of social media websites/specific webpages were blocked in 2015, 2016 and 2017 (up to November 30), respectively.”Further, a total of 632, 100 and 83 URLs of social media websites/web pages were blocked in compliance with the directions of the competent courts of India in 2015, 2016 and 2017 (up to November 30), respectively,” Kannanthanam said.The government does not regulate content appearing on social networking sites, Kannanthanam said adding that law enforcement and security agencies make searches on the Internet on specific case-to-case basis or as appropriate.”As per the data maintained by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 2,423 persons in 2014, and 3,137 persons in 2015 were arrested under combined sections of 66 and 66A of IT Act,” he said.Kannanthanam said there have been attempts from time to time to penetrate systems/devices of cyber networks operating in government and its personnel.”These attacks have been observed to be originating from the cyberspace of a number of countries including China and Pakistan,” he said.Citing data from Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the minister said 44,679, 49,455, 50,362, and 40,054 cyber security incidents were observed during 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (till November), respectively.The types of cyber security incidents include phishing, scanning/probing, website intrusions and defacements, virus/malicious code, ransomware, denial of service attack etc, Kannanthanam added.CERT-In issues alerts and advisories regarding latest cyber threats/vulnerabilities and counter measures to protect computers on regular basis.Kannanthanam said 15 drills have so far been conducted by CERT-In to assess cyber security preparedness of organisations. About 148 organisations from different states and sectors such as finance, defence, power, telecom, transport, energy, space, IT/ITeS etc participated in these drills.A 24/7 security monitoring centre including NIC-CERT is also in place at NIC (National Informatics Centre) for detecting and responding to security incidents, he said.

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

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

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New Vijay Rupani cabinet: Mix of youth and experience

Vijay RupaniChief MinisterThe 61-year-old who began his second stint as Chief Minister on Tuesday, has had a meteoric rise in Gujarat’s politics. A man of the organisation throughout his political journey, he was nominated as CM after the abrupt resignation of Anandiben Patel in August 2016. There were question marks on his future, especially after BJP won just 99 seats, its lowest tally in the past seven elections, but the party has chosen to maintain a status quo.CABINET MINISTERSNitin PatelA six-term MLA, 61-year-old Patel is the senior-most in the ministry. He was widely seen as the chief ministerial nominee after Anandiben’s resignation, but BJP picked Rupani and appointed Patel as deputy CM.RC FalduFaldu, a former president of Gujarat BJP, was elected to the Assembly for the fourth time in 2017. Faldu was sidelined in the party from some time, but the influential, Patidar leader has made a strong comeback.Bhupendrasinh ChudasamaChudasama is among the senior-most ministers in the Vijay Rupani cabinet having served as one way back in 1990. The soft-speaking Kshatriya leader is in his fifth term in the Assembly.Kaushik PatelPatel had lost in 2007 and had not contested in 2012, which means he is back after 10 years. This is the 63-year-old’s fourth term as MLA. He had held revenue, energy, civil supplies, and other important ministries.Saurabh PatelPatel, who is in his fifth term as MLA, served as minister from 2002 to 2016, handling finance, energy, civil aviation, planning, tourism. He was one of the visible faces of the government during these years.Ganpat VasavaA four-term MLA, he has emerged as the tribal face of the BJP in south Gujarat. Back in 2011, Vasava was appointed as Speaker of the state Assembly, the first from the tribal community to occupy the chair. He was later appointed as a cabinet minister.Jayesh RadadiyaSon of influential Patidar leader Vitthal Radadiya, Jayesh has been elected to the Assembly for the second time in 2017. The 36-year-old is the youngest minister in the 20-member Vijay Rupani cabinet. He had served as minister of state.Dilipsinh ThakorThis is the 58-year-old’s fifth term in the Assembly. A prominent OBC face in north Gujarat, Thakor had served as minister in the first Modi government in 2001, and had remained till 2007. He was brought back in the cabinet by Anandiben Patel.Ishwar ParmarThe 46-year-old, who was elected to the Assembly for just the second time, is a surprise pick as cabinet minister. The loss of its prominent Dalit faces such as Ramanlal Vora and Atmaram Parmar left BJP with little choice but to promote Parmar.MINISTERS OF STATEPradipsinh JadejaJadeja was elected to the assembly from Vatva seat in the just concluded elections for his fourth term as MLA. He was serving as minister of state for home in the previous government, in addition to law, parliamentary affairs.Parbat PatelThe 5-term MLA from north Gujarat was elected to the assembly first time in 1985. The 69-year-old is a prominent Chaudhary leader, a community that is quite dominant in north Gujarat. He has served as minister of state for finance, water supply, health, transport.Parsottam SolankiThe powerful Koli leader has served in all governments since 1998, barring one. In spite of his poor health, and though he barely attends office, the 56-year-old has once again been included in the ministry, because of the influence he has in his community.Bachu KhabadThis is the 62-year-old’s third term as MLA. He first found a place in the ministry when Anandiben Patel became the chief minister in May 2014. He was made minister of state for fisheries, and forests & environment. He was retained in the ministry by Vijay Rupani.Jaydrathsinh ParmarHaving started as a sarpanch in the late 1980s, Parmar first became a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet in 2011. The four-term MLA was included in the cabinet again in 2013 and has been its part since. The 53-year-old is a qualified lawyer by profession.Ishwarsinh PatelThis is Patel’s fourth term as an MLA. He had first found a place in the ministry in 2011 when the cabinet was expanded. He was dropped from the ministry in 2012, but was inducted again when Rupani took over as CM.Vasan AhirAhir, who has been elected as MLA five times, is among the senior legislators in the cabinet. The 59-year-old had first served as minister of state since 2008 in the second Modi government.Vibhavari DaveThe three-term MLA is the only woman in the Cabinet. She had served as deputy mayor and mayor of Bhavnagar in the mid and late 1990s, and was first elected to the Assembly in 2007.Raman PatkarThis is the first time Patkar has found a place in the ministry. He is a five-term MLA, and was elected from the tribal reserved Umargam seat in Valsad in the latest polls.Kishor KananiThis is the maiden entry of Kanani, a two-term MLA, in the ministry. He had won from Varachha Road seat in Surat. In fact, he was the only Patidar MLA from Surat city who was repeated by BJP.

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

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

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Was upset over absence of Civil Surgeon: Hansraj Ahir issues clarification after shooting doctors remark

Union Minister Hansraj Ahir, who stoked a controversy with his remarks on doctors, today said his statement was specifically aimed at the Civil Surgeon who skipped the government hospital function and “misinterpreted” by media.Miffed over the absence of senior doctors at a function in his Lok Sabha constituency Chandrapur yesterday, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs had said that “these people should join Naxals” and “we will then shoot you with bullets”. Ahir was speaking at the inauguration of a generic medicine counter at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandrapur, in eastern Maharashtra. The district civil surgeon, Uday Nawade, and dean of the medical college, S S More, were not present at the event.Speaking in Marathi, Ahir had said, “What do the Naxals want? They don’t want democracy. I handle the home ministry, so I know it. These people (referring to the senior doctors) don’t want democracy.” “So they should join Naxals. Why do you stay here? Go there, then we will shoot you with bullets. Why do you give tablets (pills) here? How justified is it to remain absent when I am coming to the hospital,” Ahir had said. Ahir today told PTI that he was “upset” over the absence of the Civil Surgeon at the event, for which many dignitaries like the mayor, the deputy mayor and prominent doctors were present.”The civil surgeon, the one who should have led from the front, was absent, which was disgraceful,” Ahir said. He said his comment was aimed particularly at the Civil Surgeon’s “irresponsible behaviour” and not at other government officials or doctors, as is being “misinterpreted” by media. “Naxals don’t want democracy, I know this as I am in the Home Ministry and if you also do not believe in democracy better go and join Naxals if you are not interested in giving tablets then we shall give you ‘goli’ (pills). This was my statement which has been misinterpreted and quoted out of contest,” he said.According to Ahir, the absence of the Civil Surgeon, as an organiser of the programme, was “nothing less than an insult to democracy” and his intention was to “discipline” him by giving some pills which the civil hospital was supposed to take up for distribution to patients.

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Mahakal temple says specific dress code required to enter sanctum sanctorum; rejects disabled mountaineer’s claims

A day after Arunima Sinha, the first female amputee to scale Mount Everest, alleged that her disability was mocked at when she visited the Mahakal temple here, the temple authorities today said a specific “dress code” had to be followed to enter the sanctum sanctorum.Madhya Pradesh’s Women and Child Development Minister Archana Chitnis has ordered an inquiry into the incident.Sinha, a former national-level volleyball player, had yesterday said she felt “greater pain” while visiting the temple than climbing Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 8,844 metres.The temple authorities said men had to be clad in “dhotis” (shola), while women had to wear a saree to enter the sanctum sanctorum during the “bhasma aarti”, a unique practice observed at the temple in the early hours every day.”According to the temple traditions, women wearing a saree and men in dhotis are allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum during the bhasma aarti in the morning,” the temple’s administrator, Avdhesh Sharma, said.He added that Sinha had come to the temple at around 4.30 am on December 24 and was told about the tradition by the priests and security personnel there.Sharma said generally, those not wearing a dhoti or a saree were allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum, but the entry was restricted during the “bhasma aarti”.He said entry to the sanctum sanctorum during the “bhasma aarti” was only allowed through pre-booked slots and added that Sinha had reached the temple on a short notice.The temple authorities also made public the CCTV footage, in which the security personnel were purportedly seen talking to Sinha.However, Sinha told reporters that the footage also showed a man entering the temple’s sanctum sanctorum wearing jeans.”Not allowing a person wearing jeans or pants in the sanctum sanctorum is wrong. In the footage, a man is seen entering the restricted area wearing jeans. Why was I not allowed? Only because I am a disabled woman? I am a devotee of Lord Shankar,” she said.The 29-year-old mountaineer also said she did not intend to seek an apology from anyone over the incident.Recounting her unpleasant experience, she had earlier said her disability was mocked at when she visited the temple.”I am very sorry to tell you that I felt greater pain in visiting Mahakal temple (at Ujjain) than scaling the Everest. My disability was mocked at there (at Mahakal),” Sinha had tweeted yesterday.She had also tagged the Prime Minister’s Office and the Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s office in her tweet.Sinha was pushed out of a running train by robbers in April, 2011, while she was resisting a robbery attempt. As a result, one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee. She is the first Indian amputee to climb the Everest.Meanwhile, Chitnis apologised to Sinha for the incident and said the mountaineer was the pride of the country.In a statement, the minister said she had asked the Ujjain divisional commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the incident.Chitnis said she had also told the officials that such incidents should not take place in the future.She added that she would talk to the priests at the temple and also visit Lucknow soon to meet Sinha.The temple houses one of the 12 “jyotirlingas” in the country.

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Muslim Women Bill that criminilises triple talaq to be introduced in Parliament

A bill seeking to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims is set to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill is listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 28, according to the list of business in the Lower House.The bill, prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — “illegal and void” and provides for a jail term of three years for the husband.It was cleared by the Union Cabinet earlier this month.The bill was listed for introduction last week, but Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar later told reporters that it would be introduced this week.As per the provisions of the bill, the husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case.The bill is being introduced as the practice still continued despite the Supreme Court striking down ‘talaq-e- biddat’.The proposed law would only be applicable to instant triple talaq and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children.The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.

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

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

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

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

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

Vijay Rupani will begin his second inning as Gujarat Chief Minister at a grand swearing-in ceremony in capital city Gandhinagar on Tuesday.The lavish event, which is being organised at Gandhinagar Sachivalaya Ground, will see host of VVIP guests including 18 BJP Chief Ministers, party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Here are 10 major updates from this big political story:1: Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, Rupani visited Gandhinagar’s Panchdev temple and Akshardham temple in morning.2: According to sources, Rupani has dropped three ministers from his previous cabinet. They are: Babu Bokhiria, former water supplies and animal husbandry minister; Vallabh Kakadia, former minister of state for transport and Rajendra Trivedi, former minister of state for youth services and cultural affairs.3: Officials said that a huge 2,500 square metres dome — which can accommodate 10,000 people — has been booked and prepared for the ceremony.4: Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh and Ram Vilas Paswan and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are also attending the ceremony.5: Security has been tightened at Ahmedabad Airport, which will see a lot of VVIP movement, as well as in Gandhinagar.6: Entry of private vehicles has been restricted in the Sachivalaya due to the swearing-in ceremony.7: Before leaving for Delhi, PM Modi is scheduled for a lunch with the new council of ministers and visiting dignitaries at Mahatma Mandir in the afternoon.8: A Cabinet meeting is also slated in the afternoon, where newly-inducted ministers will be allocated portfolios.9: This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP is forming government in Gujarat, but this time with the lowest seat tally.10: The party won 99 seats in the just concluded assembly elections, just seven more than the half-way mark of 92. On the other hand, Congress increased its tally to 77 seats, its best performance since 1990.

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10 TTV Dhinakaran loyalists sacked after RK Nagar results

AIADMK expelled five senior functionaries and relieved five district secretaries from their posts, calling them “betrayers” for supporting sidelined leader TTV Dhinakaran.The action came a day after he dealt a major setback to Tamil Nadu’s ruling party and also Opposition DMK by winning the crucial bypoll to late CM J Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar Assembly constituency.The action was decided at a meeting of top leaders led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam.The independent candidate and rebel leader has staked claim to Jayalalithaa’s legacy and AIADMK’s leadership because of the mandate and his jailed aunt VK Sasikala’s proximity with her.The constituency has a huge symbolic value because of its association with Jayalalithaa.”Action will be taken against all those from the party cadres to headquarters office bearers who betrayed the party,” said Palanisami after the meeting.This is the first instance of a ruling party losing a bypoll in Tamil Nadu since 2004. TVT is the first independent to have emerged victorious since 2006.He played down the action and said that true party cadres were with him. “More people would come to me as the people of RK Nagar endorsed my camp,” he said, noting that EPS and OPS convened an urgent meeting as they fear desertion from their camp.The bypoll was necessitated following Jayalalithaa’s death on December 5 last year.In August, AIADMK’s two rival factions finally came together, overcoming a series of false starts, six months after Jayalalithaa’s death caused a fracture in Tamil Nadu’s ruling party. Palanisami and his predecessor O Panneerselvam then announced a merger deal. They later expelled Dhinakaran and Sasikala from the party.After Jayalalithaa’s death, Panneerselvam was locked in a succession battle with Sasikala before she was convicted of corruption and sent to jail in February this year. Panneerselvam is Jayalalithaa’s staunch loyalist and was a preferred stand-in during her lifetime. Sasikala was a long-time associate of Jayalalithaa.As per the deal, Panneerselvam is leading the AIADMK as its coordinator, while Palanisami is its co-coordinator. Panneerselvam and his supporter Mafoi K Pandiarajan had been later sworn in as Deputy CM and a minister, respectively.

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Central medical units not following MCI norms

In its recently revised guidelines, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has enhanced the upper age limit for appointment to senior residentship from 33 to 40 years. Some doctors have, however, pointed out that some Central and autonomous medical institutions have still not implemented these guidelines.In a letter written to the Health Minister on December 25, 2017, the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), an umbrella body of resident doctors, pointed out that the guidelines have been implemented in Delhi government institutions but the not in Institutions such as AIIMS and PGI, Chandigarh.”Implementation of the 40 year age criteria for senior residents will help in filling up the posts lying vacant in our medical institutions. In addition to this, various state governments have rural service bonds after MBBS and some have service bonds after post-graduation as well. Many doctors are well above the age of 33 years when they complete the compulsory posting. Bringing uniformity in age criteria for SRs will help in solving the problem of shortage of doctors in the country,” stated the letter signed by FORDA president Dr Vivek Chouksey.

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Yogi Adityanath announces Metro for Agra, Kanpur

Addressing his first public meeting on Monday, right after the inauguration of the Magenta Line of Metro in Noida, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced new Metro projects for Agra and Kanpur in the state.During the inauguration, Adityanath said: “I thank the PM for giving UP the offering of this new Metro line. We are going to bring Metro to Kanpur and Agra. The inauguration of the Magenta Line will prove to be a milestone towards realising the dream of development for Noida and Greater Noida. The PM has given a new meaning to politics of this nation. He is always telling us one thing: We have to move ahead on the path of development. We should ensure no citizen is unhappy. There is no question of discriminating against anyone.”He further said that the work to set up an airport at Jewar has also been expedited, which will be a boom for the people and will bring development to the district.”We have been planning two major expressways in the state. It is an achievement to have the Prime Minister in the state. He has given a new direction to politics and till even a single individual remains unhappy, we should make efforts to solve his problems,” Adityanath said during the meeting.Attacking the previous governments in the state, Adityanath claimed that under their rule, Noida, Greater Noida, and Yamuna Expressway region were only meant to make money. “My government is taking public welfare projects on a priority basis. As per Modi’s directions, we are working on the principle of participation of all and development for all (sabka saath, sabka vikas),” Adityanath said.Referring to the issue of real estate developers leaving projects unfinished, much to the agony of homebuyers, the UP chief minister said that builders have promised to handover 80,000 apartments to consumers in the next six months.Aditynath further said that in the nine months of his rule, he has been taking decisions without any partisan attitude or self interest. “All decisions are in public interest,” he added.The UP CM referred to agriculture in the state and claimed that sugarcane farmers’ dues were being paid on time while the power supply, too, had improved. Adityanath further said that his government was tough on criminals as well.REALITY ISSUEReferring to the issue of real estate developers leaving projects unfinished, much to the agony of homebuyers, the UP chief minister said that builders have promised to handover 80,000 apartments to consumers in the next six months.

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

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

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Vijay Rupani, others to be sworn in today

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

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