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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
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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

Who made the mysterious call to CM Vijay Rupani?

Amid the heated political atmosphere in the state, particularly after allocation of portfolios, CM Vijay Rupani inaugurated the sixth edition of much awaited annual flower show at the Flower Park of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on Saturday.While entering the nursery section, Rupani was handed over his mobile phone by his personal assistant and the CM talked for about 10 minutes with the person on the call. Speculations were rife that it might be either from Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP president Amit Shah.It comes in the wake of newly appointed Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel being displeased with the allocation of portfolio to him. He is yet to take charge of the office. It is believed that to know what is going on at the local level, someone from the said two might have called the CM, hence he spend 10 minutes over the call during the public event. After inaugurating the show, the CM said that Amdavadis now have a new place to rejoice the beauty of flowers in this pleasant winter.It is for the first time that the flower show is being organised after Ahmedabad was declared as the World Heritage City by the UNESCO. Several other events are also being organised to celebrate the heritage tag.”The annual flower show helps people in Ahmedabad get closer to nature,” he added. It is speculated that Nitin Patel might not attend the concluding event of Kankaria Carnival which is likely to take place on Sunday.WHO WAS ITSpeculations are rife about who called the Chief Minister today. While many say that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, others say it wasBJP president Amit Shah.

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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

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

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

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

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

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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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Samajwadi Party workers protest at station, slam PM Modi, CM Yogi Adityanath for taking credit

Nearly 200 workers of the Samajwadi Party (SP) stormed into the Botanical Garden Metro station in Noida on Monday and boarded a train as a mark of protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for taking all the credit for the newly inaugurated Magenta Line. The line was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.Nearly a 100 SP workers led by party leader Surendra Singh Nagar reached the Metro station in the evening to stage the protest. They alleged that the work on the project was started by former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, but the PM and the present CM were taking credit for it.”We travelled by Metro train to Kalindi Kunj and returned and told people that the Magenta Line was started by the SP government. Instead taking full credit, the current government should have praised Yadav for the gift of Metro that he gave to the people,” Nagar said.On Monday, PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the Delhi Metro Magenta Line, which connects Noida to Kalkaji Temple. The PM was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who made his maiden visit to Noida and broke the much-hyped “jinx”of CMs not visiting the district.

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

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

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

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

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Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line to be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday will inaugurate the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro, which is expected to make commuting between South Delhi and Noida hassle-free.PM Modi will reportedly address the gathering at the Botanical Garden Metro Station after taking a ride along the new section of the transport network.The 12.64-km stretch runs between Kalkaji and Noida’s Botanical Garden and accounts for a travel time of 19 minutes, thus facilitating easy access for commuters from South Delhi to Noida, and vice versa.The coaches will reportedly have LED display, power charging capacity and colourful seats, while the stations will portray themes of nature, yoga, and cultural landmarks.Further, driverless trains are to be introduced along with the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology, which facilitate the movement of trains within a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds.Also readHere’s why Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line will set new trends: 5 things you should know The Magenta Line also marks the usage of the first platform screen doors (PSDs), which are glass-made screens installed near the edge of platforms that open only when a train arrives and shut after it departs.On a related note, a driverless metro train on Tuesday rammed into a nearby boundary wall during a trial run, due to alleged negligence by the maintenance officials.The accident, which occurred at the Kalindi Kunj Metro depot along the Magenta Line, reportedly happened when the train was being moved from the workshop without testing the brake system. As a result, when the train was moved up the ramp for washing, it rolled back and hit the adjacent boundary wall.However, no casualties were reported.

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

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

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

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

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BJP picks Jai Ram Thakur as new Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh

Five-time BJP MLA Jairam Thakur will be the new Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh after he was elected as the leader of the BJP legislature party on Sunday. The decision was taken in the Legislative Party’s meet in Shimla . Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Singh Tomar, and state party in-charge Mangal Pandey were present at the meeting. Jairam Thakur thanked the central leadership and senior party leaders after being made legislative party leader in Himachal Pradesh.Earlier, top state leaders, including former CM Shanta Kumar and Virender Kashyap, had categorically told Sitharaman that “only elected member should be made the Chief Minister”.Seraj MLA Jai Ram Thakur, 52, is the real representative of the young generation, maintain many party leaders in Madhya Pradesh. Thakur is a five-time elected MLA and had been seen as a Chief Minister-in-waiting for a long time. Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsWhile former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had last night opted out of the race, Thakur, a MLA from Seraj in Mandi district, and Union minister J P Nadda were the frontrunners for the chief minister’s office.A lack of consensus among the newly elected MLAs had resulted in the two central observers — Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar — returning to Delhi from Shimla yesterday to hold fresh consultation with the central leadership.A two-member team of central observers, which was in the state on December 21 and 22, had taken feedback from members of the state BJP’s core committee, MPs and some MLAs. The BJP ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 out of the 68 seats.Related Photos
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In Pics: BJP celebrates its wins in Gujarat and Himachal(With PTI inputs)

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Advantage JP Nadda? BJP meets today to decide Himachal Chief Minister

Prem Kumar Dhumal on Saturday night ruled himself out from the race for the post of Himachal Pradesh chief minister, a day before a meeting of BJP MLAs to elect their leader. Five-term MLA Jairam Thakur and Union minister J P Nadda are the frontrunners for the chief minister’s office.A lack of consensus among the newly elected MLAs had resulted in the two central observers — Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar — returning to Delhi from Shimla on Friday to hold fresh consultation with the central leadership.Although Thakur was seen a frontrunner for the job till recently, Nadda may emerge as the most acceptable candidate in this changed scenario, a BJP source said.”There is speculation in media that I am in race for the post of the chief minister. I had made it clear on the day of the result that I am not in any race,” Dhumal said.The statement of Mr Dhumal, a former chief minister who was the party’s candidate for the job again but suffered a shock defeat in the polls, that he was not in contention has come following a nudge from the BJP leadership, sources said.Supporters of Dhumal and Thakur had raised slogans as central observers met state leaders on Thursday. A meeting of BJP MLAs has been convened on Sunday and they would be addressed by the central observers, the party’s state unit chief Satpal Singh Satti said today in Shimla.The two-member team of central observers, which was in the state on December 21 and 22, had taken feedback from members of the state BJP’s core committee, MPs and some MLAs.The leadership issue cropped up following the shocking defeat of Dhumal. He who was defeated from Sujanpur by Rajinder Rana of the Congress.Satti, who himself lost from Una, said that in spite of “unexpected results” in some constituencies the performance of the party was spectacular. The party ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 of the 68 seats in fray.

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Those who did not fight for Cong will face action: Rahul Gandhi

Those within Congress who did not work to make party candidates win will have to face disciplinary action, said Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Ahmedabad on Saturday. He also assured that those who had worked for the party will be rewarded and that the grand old party also has a bright future.Addressing the party workers in Ahmedabad after a review meeting with the party leaders and MLAs, the newly elected party President said, “90% of workers fought for the party. 10% did not help the party. We will act against them, whoever they are, however big they may be. Everything will happen in a gradual manner.”Rahul thanked workers for their fine show even if the party did not get majority. Terming the performance a victory of sorts, he said that it was an uneven fight with BJP putting all the might of central and state governments besides ‘money power’, while Congress had only truth to rely upon.”We fought with love and we have won,” he said adding that during the course of the campaign, Congress was successful in bursting myth about development during Narendra Modi’s rule in Gujarat. “Inspite of asking so many questions, the PM was not able to reply,” he said.Gujarat Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot said that PM Modi and BJP President Amit Shah had a tough time countering the onslaught of Congress and they had to take resort to sea plane and ‘Son of the Soil’ aspects to emotionally appeal to the masses. He said that the situation has changed in Gujarat and the countdown has begun for BJP, which will be reflected in the 2019 polls.THANKS PARTYMENRahul gave credit to AICC General Secretary and in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot as well as the party leadership for the results and termed the party manifesto a landmark document

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BSNL booster dose for Digital India; `499 pack

To boost Digital India and challenge the competitors, BSNL unveiled a handset and prepaid connection bundle for just Rs 499. Communication minister Manoj Sinha launched the scheme at New India Conclave 2017 of Zee Media in Jaipur on Saturday. It plans to tap the market in rural areas.“This will surely go a long way in providing mobile phone and services to rural population at a very economical rate,” said Sinha, stating that it will help in fulfilling PM Modi’s vision of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’.The event presented by BSNL focused on creating a new India through digital technology with PM Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘Sankalp se Siddhi’. BSNL will launch the bundled package just before the New Year to outmatch offers of its competitors and increase its customer base considerably over next six months. The package comes with a Detel brand handset and added talktime of Rs 103.“We plan to sell 5 lakh such handsets over the next six months, the annual recharge of Rs 499 will keep the connection alive, “ said CMD BSNL Anupam Shrivastav while discussing the expected targets with DNA. BSNL, lagging behind the competitors, has been putting extra efforts, plans increase its market share from 8.35 per cent in March 2016 to 9.03 per cent in October 2017. At the conclave, Anupam Shrivastav also hinted at the possibility of BSNL rolling out its VoLTE 4 G connections soon. While the minister assured the gathering that India will introduce 5G services by 2020.

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India, Russia address dip in relations, review ties

India and Russia on Saturday attempted to address the perceived dip in their relations by undertaking a comprehensive review of economic cooperation in key areas, including energy, trade and investment.The meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Deepening the special and privileged strategic partnership, Swaraj welcomed Rogozin, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.”External affairs minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Rogozin undertook a comprehensive review of economic cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, transport, energy, agriculture, industry and space under IRIGC-EC (framework),” Kumar said.Rogozin later called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who noted with satisfaction the marked increase in high-level exchanges between the two countries this year. Modi also recalled his own visit to St. Petersburg in June this year for the Annual Bilateral Summit.The deputy Russian Prime Minister also called on the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Russian delegation comprised of senior government officials and representatives of trade and industry.Earlier this month, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov visited Delhi for Russia-India-China trilateral meeting. He created a flutter here while arguing for the inclusion of Taliban in the political dialogue process in Afghanistan.Addressing a gathering at a think-tank, he said that Russia had in the past contacted the militant group to sit down for negotiations, adding that American strategy of defeating extremism and terrorism in Afghanistan was not viable as the military method of the last 15 years had not reduced violence in the country.”You cannot resolve the situation without having everybody on board and around the table. The government of Afghanistan, the Taliban, and those who can influence the situation, including neighbours who feel the bad influence of what is going on in Afghanistan should find a political solution,” he had said.The two nations also agreed on raising the level of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation to that of Deputy Minister / Commerce Secretary level and creating a mechanism to discuss and remove barriers to trade; creation of a Working Group on Agriculture; creation of a Working Group on Pharmaceuticals; an agreement to actively promote inter-regional cooperation which has significant untapped potential for cooperation; decision to expedite implementation of the Green Corridor for exchange of pre-arrival data between Customs Administrations of the two countriesWhat was achieved?Representatives of the two countries’ governments reviewed economic cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, transport, energy, agriculture, industry and spaceDmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, also called on PM Narendra Modi who noted the increase in high-level exchanges between the two countries

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Suspense over new Himachal Pradesh CM continues, BJP MLAs to meet tomorrow

Amid the suspense over the new Himachal Pradesh chief minister, a meeting of BJP MLAs has been convened tomorrow and they would be addressed by the central observers, the party’s state unit chief Satpal Singh Satti said today.According to senior party leaders, announcement regarding the new chief minister would be made soon, may be at the meeting of the MLAs, but there was no official communication about it yet.The two-member team of central observers, which was in the state on December 21 and 22, had taken feedback from members of the state BJP’s core committee, MPs and some MLAs.Also readPM Modi meets BJP MPs from Gujarat, HimachalUnion Health Minister J P Nadda and five times MLA Jai Ram Thakur are the front runners for the post and announcement of the leader would be made after perusing the report of the observers, party leaders had said.The two central observers — Union ministers Nirmala Sitharamana and Narendra Singh Tomar — would arrive here tomorrow and address the MLAs, Satti said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsThe leadership issue cropped up following the shocking defeat of the BJPs chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal, which threw the leadership race wide open.Dhumal who was defeated from Sujanpur by Rajinder Rana of the Congress.Satti, who himself lost from Una, said that inspite of “unexpected results” in some constituencies the performance of the party was spectacular.”After feedback from candidates at a meeting in Bilaspur, ahead of counting, we were expecting at least 42 seats. The party won 44 seats,” he said.The state BJP chief said the performance of the BJP in tribal areas was satisfying as it grabbed two out three seats reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates.

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Yogi Adityanath ignores ‘Noida jinx’, visits city to oversee preparations ahead of PM’s visit

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ignored the long standing ‘Noida Jinx’ by visiting the most advanced city in the state, which is also part of the NCR region, on Saturday.Before leaving for the ‘jinxed’ city, the Chief Minister stated that he and his government do not believe in ‘superstition’. “My government is here to serve the people of the state than to believe in such superstitions. I would continue to work for the development of state even if I have to lose my chair,” said Yogi Adityanath.The Chief Minister visited Noida to oversee preparations and review security and other arrangements for the launch of the much-publicized Magenta Metro Line from Botanical Garden in Noida to Kalkaji. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the new Metro train on Sunday, to celebrate the birthday of the ailing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.Also readYogi Adityanath to break ‘Noida jinx’, will meet PM Modi on Dec 25 Jinx and superstition surrounding Noida began in 1988 when ex-Chef Minister late Veer Bahadur Singh visited Noida and lost his chair and elections. In 1989, the former Chief Minister Narain Dutt Tiwari too lost his government after visiting Noida in the wake of controversial shilanyas near the disputed site in Ayodhya.Kalyan Singh was the third victim of the ‘Noida jinx’ when he too lost his government in 1993 assembly polls after visiting Noida. The BSP withdrew support from the Mulayam government in 1995 after he visited the ‘jinxed city’.Since then the superstition went deep in the minds of all subsequent Chief Ministers and they were wary and scared of visiting Noida for the fear of losing their governments. Be it Rajnath Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, or next generation politician Akhilesh Yadav, they all stayed away from Noida due to the jinx attached to it.Mayawati was the only exception when she had dared to break the jinx by visiting Noida in 2011 to inaugurate Dr Ambedkar Memorial Park. But she too lost assembly polls in 2012 within a year. Though Akhilesh had promised to visit but he refrained from visiting Noida during his tenure as the Chief Minister launching all related projects from his official residence 5, Kalidas Marg.When the 45-year-old BJP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was reminded of the ‘Noida Jinx’, officials confided that he laughed over it saying that his government’s priority was development of the state than to pay and heed to any superstition related to Noida. He said that he will break the jinx.On Saturday, he kept his promise and landed at Noida by a chopper around 3 pm. From there he straight away drove to the Millennium City where Sunday’s flag off ceremony of Magenta Metro line is to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Teen on a mission to clean up the Mumbai

Inspired by the ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sidharth Runwal, a 17-year-old student of B.D.Somani International School is on a mission to improve the quality of life of ragpickers and garbage cleaners in Mumbai through his non-profit organisation Clean-Up Foundation.The NGO aims to achieve the objective through various activities targeted at improving and enhancing the hygiene and sanitation factors around those who help in cleaning up the city but themselves live in appalling conditions.Runawal said, “The first step towards improving the quality of life for the garbage cleaners of Mumbai is to provide them with clean drinking water. It is ironic that the people who clean the city every day live in such deplorable conditions.” He added that as per the BMC report, the average garbage cleaner does not live for over 40 years. “They do not have access to fundamental necessities such as potable water that are essential for survival,” he added.“The Clean-Up Foundation installed water purifiers at multiple Chowkis across Bandra, Khar and Santa Cruz under the H/West Ward Office. This initiative ensured clean drinking water is available for over 12,000 garbage cleaners in Mumbai,” said Runawal.AWARD-WINNING WORKSidharth Runwal was felicitated by Ministry of Environment, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, BMC and Bhamla Foundation on World Environment Day for his efforts

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Rajinikanth will announce political entry before Dec 31

Actor Rajinikanth will announce his political entry and put an end to all speculations before December 31, said activist Tamilaruvi Manian after his 90-minute meeting with the actor on Friday.”When he meets his fans from December 26 to 31, he will make an announcement of his political entry on any one of the day. Mostly, he will announce on December 31,” said Tamilaruvi Manian who founded Gandhia Makkal Iyakkam, a movement campaigning for prohibition.Tamilaruvi Manian who has been closely associated with the actor lately, had helped the BJP-led NDA float a rainbow alliance comprising DMDK, MDMK and PMK in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the alliance went on to win two seats and pushed the DMK to the third spot in seven seats.Tamilaruvi Manian, who is a strong critic of both AIADMK and DMK told DNA that the actor will confirm his political entry but will not announce the name of the party later. “He has already begun the groundwork for launching a political party. He will announce its name at the appropriate time,” he said.Rajinikanth’s announcement of political entry comes after his colleague and friend actor Kamal Haasan confirmed that he will join politics.When asked what would be the ideology of his party, he said that he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the actor. To a question on whether the actor would join hands with the BJP, he said that the actor was close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah but that does not mean he would make an alliance with them. “He will decide on the alliance at an appropriate time,” he said.Though the speculation of Rajinikanth’s possible political entry is over two-decades old, the latest round began when he addressed his fans on the first day of his five-day meet and greet to take an individual photo with his die-hard fans in Chennai on May 15. The actor told his fans that he has no political aspirations, but “If God wills it, I will enter politics tomorrow.” On the last day, the actor who hails from Karnataka asserted that he “is a pure Tamil, you have made me a Tamil.” He went on to tell his fans that he will call them when “there is a war. You come then.”Strangely, the normally reclusive actor was meeting a cross-section of people from actors to politicians of different shades. All who meet Rajinikanth made one thing very clear — that the actor was seriously considering politics

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Once jobless, PhD woman slays 5-time BJP MLA from Unjha

About five years ago, Ashaben was 35 and held a PhD degree. But she was still jobless. After her initial frustration, she decided it was time to reform the education system in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a man who has been amply vocal about his ambitious development vision. But the hitch was: to change a system, one has to be in the system.Thus, Ashaben Patel, who has her heart in social work and soul in teaching, made the leap into politics.Ashaben’s first poll fight was in 2012, when she was beaten by a BJP MLA on 24,203 votes. Not the one to give up, she worked harder. This Assembly elections, Ashaben, now 40, toppled Narayanbhai Patel, a five-time MLA, at Unjha constituency which includes PM Modi’s hometown Vadnagar.Speaking with DNA, Ashaben said, “My native is Vishol which, too, falls under Unjha. I lost the previous elections as I was very new and people in Vadnagar did not know me. This year, I have won because of the people’s love.”Ashaben wrested the seat which falls in the Patidar-dominated Mehsana district with a margin of over 19,000 votes. She attributed her victory to her extensive social work in Vadnagar.Mehsana was the epicentre of the Patidar agitation which flared up in 2015. Ashaben bagged 81,797 votes as against Patel’s 62,268 votes.”In 2012, every one knew me in Unjha, but not in Vadnagar. My social work spread across 20 villages in Vadnagar over the past few years. Social work is carried out in small places and are low-cost affair,” she says.Ask her why she did not join the BJP. “Their ideology does not suit me,” she notes.Being a Gujarati, she does not accept BJP’s campaign – ‘Hu Chu Vikas, Hu Chu Gujarat’. “The word ‘Hu’ in Gujarati is about an individual and represents arrogance,” she points out.A PhD in Chemistry, Ashaben is a guide to six students today. “I have been into social and community work since my childhood, the reason I never got married. But when I did not get a job despite being a PhD, I had to clear GPSC to join as a class 2 officer. I wanted to teach, but did not get a job; I decided to change the education system. I first fought in zilla panchayat elections, followed by the 2012 Assembly elections.”Now that she has finally won a ticket to the Assembly, Ashaben has set her priority clear: improve the education and health care systems.SYSTEM ERRORAshaben Patel joined politics to change education system in the state Lost in 2012 polls, this time, beat BJP’s Narayan Patel in Unjha

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2G case verdict: Political slugfest breaks out after all accused acquitted by special court

A Special CBI court today acquitted former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and all other accused in the 2G scam case that had rocked the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II government, holding that the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove any of the corruption and money laundering charges.The stunning verdict came as an anti-climax in a case that had been repeatedly highlighted by the BJP during the 2014 general election campaign as the hallmark of corruption in the then UPA regime. The BJP turned the arbitrary award of radio frequency to telecom providers into a major political issue and put the UPA-II government on the mat.”I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any of the charges against any of the accused,” Special CBI Judge O P Saini said in his verdicts in three separate cases related to the 2G scam in a packed courtroom at the Patiala House premises.Also read2G verdict good news for Congress, but UPA has enough scams to worry aboutDealing a body blow to the CAG’s and CBI’s estimation of huge loss in grant of 2G licences, judge Saini in his 1,552- page verdict in the main CBI case held that some people “artfully” arranged few selected facts and created a scam “when there was none”. In all, there were 17 accused, including Raja and Kanimozhi, both leaders of Congress ally DMK, in this case that also included three corporate entities.The three judgements, which together ran into 2,183 pages, included the one that stemmed out of the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s money laundering case.Also readCBI, ED to challenge special court’s verdict on 2G scamThe ED and the CBI said they will challenge before the Delhi High Court the verdicts, which also unleashed a political slugfest between the BJP and the Opposition. There were 19 accused in the ED chargesheet some of whom figured in the CBI chargesheet filed in its main and offshoot case.Buoyed by the verdicts, the Congress and the DMK said “truth” has finally prevailed and that justice has been delivered while the ruling party asked the Congress not to treat them as a “badge of honour”.Also readFull text of special CBI court’s judgment in 2G spectrum allocation case The Congress demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders apologise to the nation for their alleged “propaganda and lies” on the issue.Manmohan Singh said the court judgement needs to be respected as it has “pronounced that the massive propaganda” unleashed against his government was without any foundation.”Will all those people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders, who for years made false propaganda and lies their stepping stone to come to power, apologise to the country?” asked Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala. “Today is the day for fixing accountability and responsibility.”In a counterattack, Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the Congress should not treat the 2G verdict as a “badge of honour.” The party’s “zero loss theory” was proved wrong when the apex court squashed spectrum allocation in 2012, he added.A number of supporters of DMK leaders Raja and Kanimozhi, who were anxiously waiting outside the jam-packed court room, broke into loud cheers as soon as the verdict was pronounced.”There is no evidence against me and justice has been delivered,” Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, told reporters. A beaming Raja said, “You see everybody is happy.”In a statement in the evening, Raja said the court acquittal showed that the presumptive loss in allocation of 2G spectrum was “cooked-up”. He also debunked the presumptive loss theories in the allocation.Raja, who was the Telecom minister in the Congress-led UPA government when 122 spectrum licences were issued to 8 companies in 2008 on first-come-first-serve basis, said his actions were for the benefit of masses.Raja remained in jail for over 15 months while Kanimozhi was in prison for six months before they were granted bail.Other accused persons were also in jail for varying terms.The trial in the three cases relating to the 2G scam began after the then Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai in his report alleged 122 2G licences were given to telecom operators at throwaway prices when the UPA was in power and pegged at Rs 1.76 lakh crore the loss to the national exchequer.The CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court court on February 2, 2012.Former telecom minister Kapil Sibal demanded an apology from Rai, saying his stand on loss from the 2G spectrum allocation stands vindicated. Sibal had contradicted the CAG report, maintaining there was “zero loss” to the Government as a result of giving 2G licences to new players in 2008.The verdict also echoed in the Lok Sabha where senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily demanded that Rai quit all posts. Rai heads the Supreme Court-appointed four-member panel of administrators to run the affairs of the BCCI and is also the Chairman of the Banks Board Bureau.Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the other accused who were given a chit in the main CBI case included former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, film producer Karim Morani, Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV were also acquitted in the money laundering case.Three companies–Swan Telecom, Unitech Wireless(Tamil Nadu) limited and Reliance Telecom limited–listed as accused in the main case were also acquitted.The acquittal of all the accused brought to end the trial that lasted nearly seven years in one of the most controvesial corruption cases that involved politicians, bureaucrats and a host of businessmen and corporate executives accused of conspiracy in the allocation of spectrum or radio waves used to offer mobile servies.Raja and Kanimozhi were also let off in another case lodged by the ED under the money laundering law arising out of the 2G scam.

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LK Advani ‘unhappy’ over Lok Sabha disruptions

BJP veteran L K Advani on Thursday seemed unhappy at the din created in the Lok Sabha due to protests by Congress members seeking an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks against former premier Manmohan Singh during Gujarat election campaign.Advani was seen pointing towards Congress members, protesting in the Well during the Question Hour, while talking to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.Kumar was also seen pointing at the Congress members while talking to Advani.During the 2016 Winter Session, Advani had expressed his dissatisfaction with the way Parliament was being disrupted, saying neither the Lok Sabha Speaker, nor the Parliamentary Affairs Minister was running the House.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Hardik Patel in the dock for Ahmedabad poll rally without police permission

Merely two days after election results were announced in Gujarat, a police case was lodged on Wednesday against Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel and his associates for organising a roadshow on December 11 despite not having permission from the authorities.A case was lodged with the Bopal police in Ahmedabad against the Patel, who is the convenor of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Raju Patel, Suresh Patel and 50 other members of the Patidar movement for disobeying a police notification. They have been booked under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.”In future, more cases are going to be lodged against me, this is just the start,” Patel said in response to the case. “After 9 days from the day of the incident they have opened their eye, if it was really about the notification they could have lodged the case on the same day of the rally and wouldn’t have waited. They had a fear at that time and waited for the election results to get announced. I know there is more going to come and I am ready for it.”The police, however, dismissed his allegations.”Due to the election bandobast duty and its process, the FIR process was on hold,” said Bopal police station inspector I H Gohil. “Only on Tuesday we got a reply from the Daskoi Taluka Mamlatdar regarding the matter and finally lodged a case against Patel and 52 of his members for disobeying the police order.”On December 11, City Police Commissioner AK Singh had denied permissions for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s roadshows scheduled for the next day, citing security and law-and-order issues, as well as public inconvenience. Permission for Hardik Patel’s 52-km roadshow was also denied; instead, he was allowed to have a convoy along the route with a maximum of 5 vehicles a day before.AK Singh, in his order, had said that “If any individual disobeys the police notification legal actions will be taken against them.”Nonetheless, Patel conducted the roadshow starting from Guma crossroad and ended it in Nikol area, where he was to conduct a public meeting. About 5,000 people joined the roadshow.

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Venkaiah Naidu: Don’t make a mockery of House

The Winter Session of Parliament was again disrupted as the Opposition continued to ask for an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his allegations that former PM Manmohan Singh had conspired with Pakistani officials to influence the Gujarat elections.The PM was in the Lok Sabha that was adjourned temporarily. After the adjournment, the Lok Sabha passed two bills. The Opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day amid slogan-shouting.In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s said nobody will tender an apology because nothing happened in the House. “Don’t make a mockery of the House. Already wrong message is going out,” he said.”There was no mention of conspiracy as alleged by the Opposition in PM’s speech,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Opposition parties, which disrupted Parliament for two days, had finally allowed government business on Tuesday, after back-to-back hectic parleys. But the sword of disruptions remained.In the meetings outside the House on Tuesday, Opposition leaders had made it clear to Jaitley that the blockade would be resumed unless Modi regrets, clarifies and withdraws his insinuation.They however relented to an extent. “We understand the stature of the PM office. We will not insist on his apology. But he must clarify and regret,” said a top Opposition leader.

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Blood young faces, boost BJP roots: PM Modi is ‘atal’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned emotional at the BJP’s continued electoral successes, fondly referred to his association with former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and called for strengthening the party at its roots. The PM pitched for young faces ahead of the 2019 general elections.Addressing the BJP parliamentary party here on Wednesday, he also urged leaders not to be affected by the Opposition’s “disinformation” campaign against the party, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said.Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday that Gujarat’s election outcome was “a moral victory” for the Congress and “a massive jolt” for the BJP, and has “raised questions on Modi’s credibility”. The BJP won a sixth straight term in Gujarat on Monday, but got 16 seats less, compared to the 2012 Assembly electionsModi asserted that it was a big win for his party in his home state. No party in power at the Centre has done this well in elections across the country in over three years of tenure as the BJP has , he said, referring to the BJP’s winning streak in Assembly elections.”This is no mean achievement. We have won for the sixth time in a row and are spread in 19 states, a feat that even Congress could not achieve during Indira Gandhi’s peak when her party ruled in 18 states,” PM Modi reportedly told BJP parliamentarians.He exhorted them to start preparing for the 2019 polls by strengthening party’s base.Modi also referred to his association with party president Amit Shah, who was present at the meeting, and spoke about how he groomed Shah, 14 years younger to the Prime Minister, they said.In his address, Shah attacked the Congress over its claim of a moral victory in the Gujarat polls, saying it was a “laughable exercise” for the opposition party to see victory in defeat.BJP MPs who attended the meeting said, the PM traced the party’s journey from 2 seats in 1984 to the present and became emotional when he fondly recalled Vajpayee and said that had he been healthy, he would have been happy to see the party rise to such glorious heights.Modi remembered how Vajpayee congratulated him in person when the party did well in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat when he had joined the BJP from the the RSS and was not widely known in the party.The PM got emotional for a second time when he spoke about the faith the people of Gujarat have put in the party and him and increased its vote share to 50%.Giving his own example of travelling to eight states immediately after wrapping Gujarat campaign on December 12 and at the same time delivering responsibility as the PM, Modi asked the MPs to shirk off laid back attitude and work for the country and the party.”Hum yahan satta bhogney ke liye nahi aaye hain, balki desh ko aagey le jaane ke liye chuney gaye hain. Mein abhi 8 rajyon ka daura kareke aaya hun, agar aap mujhse aur kaam chahte hain to mujhe bataiye mein tayyar hun. (We have not come here to indulge in fruits of power but have come to serve the country and take it forward. I have just come back after visiting 8 states, if you want me to do work more, I’m ready to do it), the PM reportedly told BJP MPs.

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In rural Guj, Congress got more seats, but BJP got more votes

Congress may thump its back for the tough fight it put up against the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party in Gujarat, especially in the urban and semi-urban areas, but BJP is still a force to reckon in villages, small cities and towns. Data from the Election Commission of India suggests that the saffron party actually got 76,614 more votes than Congress and its allies put together in 134 seats that are predominantly rural.The 182-member Assembly has 134 seats that are either rural or semi-urban. Of these, BJP won 57, Congress won 71, its ally Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) won two, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won one and Independents won three seats, of which Jignesh Mevani was supported by Congress.Congress and its allies got 74 seats in these areas, 17 more than BJP, however they got 98,90,064 votes in rural and semi-urban areas, while BJP got 99,66,660 votes. Congress got 95,71,855 votes, BTP got 2,22,694 votes, while Mevani bagged 95,497 votes.Data indicates that Congress won by thinner margins and BJP won by a wider margins.Dinesh Shukla, a former professor of Political Science at Gujarat University, attributes this phenomenon to BJP’s expertise in dividing opposition votes so votes that should have gone to Congress are shared by planted candidates. Notwithstanding this, the Ahmedabad-resident admits that BJP is a force to reckon with in rural and semi-urban areas, while it continues to monopolize purely urban seats. “But you have to consider that it managed to bag these seats after PM Narendra Modi’s relentless campaign,” added Shukla.In Shukla’s opinion, Congress’s lead holds lessons for BJP – that Modi magic is on a decline and Congress is on the road to resurgence in Gujarat. One also has to consider the rise of Rahul Gandhi, as fence voters may now be encouraged to vote to for Congress. Gujarat Congress spokesman Kailash Gadhvi said that Congress’s hold is stronger in rural areas as BJP’s victories are in seats that are more semi-urban than rural.It terms of votes-share within the party, Congress and allies got 77.53% of the total vote; BJP got 67.69%.While there was neck and neck competition for rural votes, there was a virtual monopoly in urban votes. BJP continued to have an iron hold with 47,57.767 votes, while Congress got 28,67,082 votes, about 40% less than BJP got.

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Need comprehensive reforms in divorce laws: Muslim body

After the Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to make triple talaq illegal, the Muslim Satyashodhak Mandal (MSM) has demanded that the proposed legislation be extended to cover all forms of divorce granted by the Muslim community under its personal laws.Activists of the Mandal founded by social reformer Hamid Dalwai, met Modi in New Delhi on Monday and sought that all cases of divorce be settled through courts to prevent discrimination and ensure justice and that an ‘Indian Marriage Act’ be prepared for all communities.”We have requested that not just instant triple talaq i.e talaq-e-biddat, but all forms of talaq be banned by the central government. This will ensure that divorce cases are decided in courts and not outside it. Till the court decides on this divorce, the couple should not be allowed to remarry. Laws prohibiting bigamy should also be extended to Muslims,” MSM president Prof Shamshuddin Tamboli told DNA.He stressed that the issue should be looked at comprehensively and not a piecemeal basis. The MSM has also demanded a ban on the “outdated and inhuman” provision of Halala in Muslim personal law, which is demeaning for women. In halala, a divorced woman has to marry another man who will divorce her after which she can marry her original husband.On Monday, Tamboli and activists of the mandal, namely former president Sayyadbhai, Jameer Shaikh, Dilawar Shaikh, Sameer Shaikh and Niyaz Attar met Modi with BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe. They will also meet leaders from other parties to build a consensus on the issue.The memorandum submitted to Modi noted that “considering the complexity of Muslim womens’ problems” the proposed Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) bill, may not be able to address these issues and ensure justice for Muslim women. It demanded that other forms of talaq like talaq-e-Hasan, talaq-e-Ahasan, talaq-e-Khula also be banned since they were one-sided and had male dominated provisions.Apart from the custody of minor children, the bill should also incorporate provisions for the maintenance of children and victims.”Banning instant triple talaq i.e talaq-e-Biddat without banning polygamy may intensify the existing problems of Muslim women,” the MSM noted, seeking a draft Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act in consultation with stakeholders.”Though we support the Uniform Civil Code, considering the politics around it, an Indian Marriage Act should be approved. Now, around 95% of criminal and civil laws like the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and Indian Penal Code, 1860, are common for all communities… the proposed marriage act will ensure uniformity in marriage, divorce, alimony, adoption and inheritance,” said Tamboli, adding this would ensure secularism, equality and gender justice.On April 18, 1966, Hamid Dalwai, an author and founder of the Indian Secular Society, had organised a morcha of the Muslim women at the receiving end of the oral, one-sided divorce, at the state administrative headquarters and submitted a memorandum to then chief minister Vasantrao Naik. The Mandal was launched in March 1970 for social and religious reforms among Muslims but faced opposition from orthodox sections within the community.

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Lok Sabha passes two bills to repeal 245 archaic laws

The Lok Sabha today passed two Bills to repeal 245 obsolete and archaic laws, including the 158-year-old Calcutta Pilots Act of 1859 and the 1911 Prevention of Seditious Meeting Act.Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the old and many irrelevant pre-independence laws were the “unfortunate part of the colonial legacy” and repealing them was a progressive move that reflects the “pro-reform” approach of the government.He was replying to a debate on the Repealing and Amending Bill and the Repealing and Amending (Second) Bill which would repeal these age-old laws.Some of the old acts that have been repealed are the Hackney Carriage Act 1879 which was legislated for the regulation and control of hackney-carriages, Dramatic Performance Act 1876 when theatre was being used a medium of protest against the British rule.Another such old act which was repealed by the Lok Sabha was ‘The Ganges Tolls Act, 1867’ which provided for collecting toll “not exceeding 12 annas” on certain boats and steamers plying on the Ganga to improve navigation of the river between Allahabad (UP) and Dinapore (Bihar).Prasad said 1029 old laws were first repealed by Parliament in 1950 and the last time such old laws were abolished during the Atal Behari Vajpayee government that repealed old laws in 2004.After the Modi government came to power a two-member panel was set up to look into the repealing of archaic laws and the panel also consulted the Centre and the state government before recommending the legislations to be repealed.Some 1824 acts were repealed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over the reins of the government, the law minister said.When Prasad spoke on abolishing the Prevention of Seditious Meeting Act, 1911, he was needled by BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy who alluded to the use of the sedition provision in the Indian Penal Code against opposition activists by the BJP governments in certain states.To this, the Law Minister said that all senior ministers in the BJP government including the prime minister had vehemently opposed Emergency in 1975 and his government was in favour of the freedom of the press.Patidar leader Hadrik Patel and JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar too were booked for sedition.BJD MP Pinaki Misra lauded the government and said 1301 “obsolete” laws were repealed in last 65 years, but after the Modi government took over 1824 legislations were repealed but the pace has to be accelerated.BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said abolishing of old laws was “swachchata abhiyan” by the House, drawing a parallel to the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, the flagship programme of the Modi dispensation.Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut demanded repealing of Article 370, while Narendra Sawaikar, BJP MP from Goa, said his state was the only one to practise the Uniform Civil Code

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‘What jolt? 19 states are now with us,’ BJP takes down Rahul Gandhi on Gujarat verdict

The BJP on Tuesday slammed Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his ‘jolt’ remark agint the ruling party for the Gujarat Assembly elections results.The Congress chief, while talking to reporters, said that the Gujarat verdict is a massive jolt for BJP. He also said that the result in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised questions over his credibilty.The BJP, in a strong comeback, said that there is no question of any ‘jolt’. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar took a dig at Gandhi and said that, ‘It’s a jolt for Congress. We are in 19 states now.’Attacking the newly-elected Congress chief, Javadekar said that ‘those calling ‘vikas’ crazy are saying all this due to frustration.’Union Minister Ananth Kumar also echoed his colleague Javadekar’s sentiments and said that, ‘Credibility of Congress and Rahul Gandhi is at an all time low, while PM Modi’s credibility is at an all time high not just in India but globally.’The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, down from 115 it won in 2012, and far lower than the 150-plus seats it had hoped for. It is also the first time in 22 years that the BJP has ruled Gujarat that its tally has fallen below 99.The Congress won 77 seats, up by 16 seats Gandhi called it a “very good result” for the Congress, and a moral victory.

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Not politics of hate, but politics of love is the way forward: Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi thanked the people of Gujarat for the love they had shown him a day after the state announced its election verdict.In the 182-seat Assembly, the BJP won 99, while the Congress won 80 in a closely fought battle.“The people of Gujarat have shown me a lot of love. The biggest gain the Congress party gets from this is that when there is anger and hate, you can always topple it with love,” he said.Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi said that he had a credibility problem. “On Monday, the Congress president tweeted how he felt about the verdict. “The Congress party accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states. I thank the people of Gujarat and Himachal with all my heart for the love they showed me. My Congress brothers and sisters, you have made me very proud. You are different than those you fought because you fought anger with dignity. You have demonstrated to everyone that the Congress’s greatest strength is its decency and courage.”Also readAssembly elections 2017| ‘Gujarat model’ has been shaken, verdict a warning for 2019, Shiv Sena tells BJPEarlier on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena issued a warning to the BJP on the Gujarat verdict. “The BJP won in Gujarat and Himachal, but the Congress was not defeated and the dream of a Congress-mukt Hindustan was not realised, this is a final message to people who think their word is the law. The Gujarat model has been shaken to its roots, We sincerely hope it does no collapse in 2019,” said an editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna.The editorial said while the BJP had won, the discussions centered around Rahul Gandhi’s leap which denoted its position as a strong opposition party. The Shiv Sena also scoffed at BJP president Amit Shah’s claim that the party would garner 150 assembly seats in Gujarat, when in reality it’s tally had failed to even touch three digits.Also readGujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will bost morale, says Ashok Chavan”If the result is to be explained in one line, the winds have not changed but have slowed down. The wave has receded,” the editorial said.

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Gujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will bost morale, says Ashok Chavan

The Congress may have lost the Gujarat elections on Monday, but the final results will certainly boost the party’s morale, feels Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan. In Gujarat, in total 182 seats of assembly, BJP won 99 seats while Congress 80. Congress won mostly in the rural belt of Gujarat due to farmers’ unrest. “We are also facing the same situations in Maharashtra. Farmers are not getting the good rates to their crops — cotton, soya bean etc. Besides, the promised farm loan waiver has not been yet fulfilled,” said Chavan on Tuesday.He said that during the Congress regime, farmers were getting Rs 6,000- Rs 7,000 for per quintal of cotton against present Rs 4,000-4,500. “Farmers are working hard but not getting fair rates. On this same issue, BJP MP Nana Patole resigned. BJP has gone back on its given promises. They no more talk about the Ache Din now,” the former chief minister said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsIn Maharashtra, there are total 288 seats. Presently, the BJP has 120, Shiv Sena – 62 while the Congress and the NCP 42 and 40 respectively. “Last elections, the Congress and the NCP fought separately. Now, NCP president Sharad Pawar has also indicated possible alliance of Congress and NCP again. In the upcoming elections, we will put the united face that will help to get us majority in state assembly and improve our tally in parliament as well. Modi-Shah juggernaut which was slower down by Congress in Gujarat will be halted in Maharashtra permanently,” Chavan said.NCP leader Ajit Pawar also criticised BJP. “If BJP struggled to get the century in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its party president Amit Shah’s home state, they will not make much impact in Maharashtra. Here, Gujarat pride, Pakistan and fanning Hindu-Muslim issue will not work. We believe in issue-based politics,” said Pawar.Also readAssembly elections 2017| ‘Gujarat model’ has been shaken, verdict a warning for 2019, Shiv Sena tells BJPInterestingly, the Shiv Sena is unlikely to form an alliance with the BJP in the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections. “Seat sharing between the Sena and BJP is major issue. No one will cut down their current seats numbers to accommodate each other. Therefore, they have no options but to contest separately. And that will surely go in favour of Congress and the NCP,” said political observer.

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Narrow escape for jodi no 1 in Gujarat

Gujarat was indeed tough for BJP. And the ruling party knew that very well. No wonder Jodi No 1 – Narendra Modi and Amit Shah once again led from the front and saved BJP from blushes. Had this invincible Jodi taken this election for granted, the outcome would have easily been termed as referendum against Modi’s radical reforms including GST and demonetization. But the thin margin of 19 seats is enough to trigger a panic button for BJP, which is slated to face stiff challenge from rejuvenated Congress in major states like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.The results have been a set back for BJP as it was claiming 150 seats but failed miserably to even touch the three figure mark. This is termed as a victory of two individuals rather than the party’s. The Jodi has so far created a record of sorts by winning 13 elections out of 15. Gujarat’s result may not savour well for BJP but it will definitely germinate internal democracy in the party. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are likely to be more flexible and receptive to ideas of other senior leaders. A green shoot was evident when Amit Shah, in a press conference allowed reporters to ask questions in otherwise what used to be one-sided press conferences.For Congress, this was a moral victory and led to an emergence of a strong leader in party. Rahul Gandhi, who had been relegated as a flop leader after a series of drubbings, is now being hailed as a leader who revived the ailing Congress. He showed consistency, maturity and quick decision making in his 40-day long campaign. For the first time, he looked like throwing direct challenge on Modi. With Rahul, Congress also discovered a shrewd strategist in Ashok Gehlot, who charioteered the election rath of Gandhi. People are saying that Gehlot may take up role of Ahmed Patel but it is not easy to replace Patel. However, still Gehlot might have a major say in Rahul’s decision making process in coming days.There’s much to cheer for Congress but the magic of Jodi No 1 is there to stay. At this moment, there is no apparent challenge to the domination of Modi-Shah, but the tight finish of Gujarat elections has given them enough food for thought ahead of 2019.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Congress candidate wins in PM Modi’s own Vadnagar

Congress nominee Asha Patel won from Unjha constituency, which covers Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown Vadnagar, by a margin of over 19,000 votes. Sitting BJP MLA Narayan Patel had previously defeated Asha by nearly 25,000 votes in 2012. While Patel polled 81,797 votes this time, her BJP rival got 62,268.The Congress rode on the Patidar wave. About 40 per cent Unjha’s population is from the Patidar community. One of the 14 men killed in the Patidar quota agitation two years ago, was from Unjha.Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the party’s star campaigner, had extensively campaigned in Unjha during his Navsarjan Yatra. On his visit to the region, Gandhi also prayed at the Umiya Mata temple, close to Vadnagar – where Modi was brought up. Weeks before the election process began in Gujarat where the BJP has been in power for the last 22 years, Modi inaugurated Umiya Dham Ashram in Haridwar for the pilgrims from the region visiting the Hindu holy city on the bank of the Ganges.

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Congress leaders take cold comfort in the ‘Fall of Modi’

As initial trends started showing, the Congress being ahead of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the party headquarters at Akbar road was filled with excited supporters from across the country.However, as the day proceeded and the BJP inched closer to the victory, the celebratory mood turned somber with more media persons thronging the office premises. The party’s robust presence in the initial trends was applauded by the senior party leaders with the former president Sonia Gandhi visiting her son and the new party president Rahul Gandhi at his residence.Back at the Congress office, party workers kept on waiting for Rahul throughout the day. He, however, did not turn up and rather made his way to Parliament.Party leaders termed Gujarat election results as the “fall” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reign. “We have got more support this time if we compare it with 2014 Lok Sabha results when the BJP had won all the 26 seats,” said former All India Mahila Congress, President Shobha Ojha.

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BJP flared up emotions, misused state machinery: Ashok Gehlot

Congress’s state in-charge for Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot speaks to DNA’s Amrita Madhukalya about his party’s campaign and expectations. The former Rajasthan CM feels that the BJP’s use of the Gujarat state machinery played its role.Now that the results are out, how do they compare with the party’s expectations?The campaign that the BJP ran in Gujarat was never based on any issues, while our politics was based on real issues. Rahul ji spoke to farmers about better wages, about jobs to the youth, to the fishermen and to the Adivasis for inclusive development. Our manifesto drew from these experiences. The BJP released a manifesto just a day before the first phase of voting commenced. We’ve done our best for the people of Gujarat, and we are in a position to claim a moral victory.Was there any room for change in the Congress’s campaign?Our campaign drew from months of intensive research and experiences with different sections of the society. But, if you compare it with the BJP’s campaign, their simple pitch was to project Narendra Modi as a Gujarati man. Modi’s pleas to the people were: ‘I am a Gujarati’, ‘they have insulted me’ and ‘please vote for Gujarat asmita (pride)’. The BJP have simply flared up emotions. To add to that, they had more than 20 ministers and over 80 to 90 MPs sitting there. This was a clear misuse of state machinery. They raised no issues, and they had no replies to our questions. We raised the issue of the botched up Rafale deal and of the corruption linked to the party president’s son.Do you think the Congress covered some lost ground since 2012?See, Narendra Modi was then the CM, today he’s the PM. That has a huge role to play. He ensured that he was there in the state during the campaign. And yet, they have lost about 15 seats and a vote share of 16 per cent. The Congress has clearly made the dent it wanted to make.Rahul Gandhi took charge of the Congress just after the Gujarat campaign was over. Was that a calculated move?The Congress, no doubt, needs to look inward. Rahul ji took charge formally recently, but he has been at the forefront for a while. Every party worker and leader in Gujarat worked selflessly and they deserve applause for their efforts.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Big gains for BJP where PM Modi campaigned

PM Narendra Modi travelled across 10,000 km in Gujarat during poll rallies for the Assembly elections. While speaking at these rallies, he played the victim card, bringing up the abusive terms used by Congress leaders to address him and the ill-treatment of Gujarat leaders by the Nehru-Gandhi family. He addressed people at 34 different places, covering all regions in the state. Out of these 34, BJP won in over 18 places, while Congress won over 16 seats – these includes urban areas such as Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.Most rallies that the PM addressed had a crowd of near one lakh people. Modi would begin his speeches by listing the achievements of the BJP-led central and state governments, and would then raise issues attached to the sentiments of Gujarat.As polling dates drew close, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar made the ‘neech’ statement, and PM again became the victim. After that, Congress came under constant attack. Congress leaders meeting Pakistani delegates was also turned into an issue.On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi’s meetings and public rallies were widely attended, but not all of them translated into votes for his party. Gandhi, who formally took over as Congress president two days before Gujarat election results were announced, campaigned extensively in the state. He undertook yatras in Saurashtra, north Gujarat, central Gujarat and south Gujarat.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Attacking PM Modi backfired for Congress: Anil Jain

What landed Gujarat once again in the BJP kitty?In Gujarat, it was clear that in the last election, Narendra Modi was the chief minister, but now he is the Prime Minister. It would be expected generally that after 22 years of rule, there would be anti-incumbency and people would want change, but these factors were mitigated and controlled by the incessant efforts of the Prime Minister and party chief Amit Shah. Our president reached out to the grassroots level of ‘panna pramukhs’ and booth-level workers ‘Shakti Kendras’. BJP has the best leadership and the mentality of development is reflected in the over 160 welfare and pro-poor schemes launched for the people. ‘Niyat, Niti and Neta’ (Positive approach, good policy and best leaders) took us to victory.What about Congress campaign?The Congress tried to make the elections about casteism and mislead the election in a negative direction. It also tried to steer the debate away from development. The Congress even took anti-social elements under its wings as their sole motive was that the elections not be fought over the development plank. Surprisingly, they began with setting aside development, saying ‘Vikas has gone mad’. This does not bode well for the future of Indian democracy.What worked against Congress?The three demons of dynasticism, casteism and appeasement politics — hallmarks of Congress’s DNA. Dynasty is the inherent and integral tradition of the Congress party. On the contrary, these demons were rooted out under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.Have these polls been more of a Modi versus Congress rather than BJP?The PM knows the psyche of people of Gujarat and he has a unique connect with the Gujarati electorate. The vicious way in which Congress attacked him on a personal level, people of Gujarat took it as an affront and an attack on their own pride and identity. He has come to be identified with the pride of not just Gujarat, but that of the nation. Deriding him and disrespecting him backfired for the Congress.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Amit Shah says drop in seats due to Congress’s ‘malicious’ campaign

Deriding the Congress for having “outsourced” its election efforts in Gujarat — an obvious reference to Hardik Patel and company — a visibly elated Amit Shah explained away the drop in seats to the “malicious” Congress campaign and the casteism that it raked up.Speaking to mediapersons after the results became clear, Shah rejected the Patidar phenomenon or the Hardik Patel factor as consequential enough to have caused a problem for the party. “This victory for the party in two states is a win for the tireless efforts put in by crores of BJP workers. It is a victory of the policies of the Prime Minister and that of the pro-poor schemes of the Central government. It is a victory of politics of development and performance over dynasticism, casteism and appeasement. Since Narendra Modi has become the PM, he is trying to weed out these three demons that have ill-affected the polity of India, and after UP results, these results have proved that a new era of politics of performance has dawned after 70 years of independence,” he said.”I offer a heartfelt gratitude to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that they gave us another opportunity to serve them,” he added.”Casteism was fanned in India, and in such a vicious atmosphere, increasing vote share as well is a big achievement. I have not seen such levels of nasty campaigning in my whole political career: using bad words for the Prime Minister, things have come to this.””We have won in areas which are supposed to be the bastions of Hardik and company,” he said.Shah took solace in the increase in the vote share of the party compared to 2012. “We are going to make a government in Gujarat for the sixth time. Last elections, we got 47.85 per cent votes, and this time we have 49.10 per cent. Under such a hugely casteist campaign by the Opposition, people’s support for the BJP has gone up,” he said.He added, “The result is that all main leaders of Congress have lost. People have put faith in Narendra Modi and they want to join the bandwagon of Modi’s developmental politics. We have another four states elections to face in the near future and in these four states, we shall certainly make governments. In 2019, we shall achieve the PM’s vision of New India.”

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First time in three decades, Himachal to get a fresh face

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will form the new Himachal Pradesh government, but minus its chief ministerial candidate, Prem Kumar Dhumal. This bitter-sweet victory for the BJP over long-time rival in the state, Congress, has ensured that for the first time in nearly three decades, a new face will emerge in the state, despite two party stalwarts — Shanta Kumar and Dhumal — still being around.For the record, Congress’ Rajinder Singh Rana has emerged as the giant killer by defeating his one-time political guru Dhumal from the Sujanpur constituency. Another tragedy that struck Dhumal was that it was he who played a crucial role in ensuring the consolidation of the dominant Thakur community in the Hamirpur region.The state has alternately elected Congress and BJP governments since 1985.In the last election in 2012, the Congress won 36 seats and the BJP 26, while six seats went to Independent candidates. While the Congress won’t accept that the corruption charges against CM Virbhadra Singh made a big difference, BJP’s own lack of confidence in any leader’s ability robbed them of quite a few seats.Dhumal’s supporter and state BJP chief Satpal Satti also lost his Una seat to Satpal Singh Razda of Congress. His close confidantes — Ravinder Ravi, Gulab Singh, and Randhir Sharma — also failed to win their respective constituencies.Dhumal, who moved from farming to teaching English and then to politics, was expected to become the CM for the third time. The Congress plank to counter the move with the criticism of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation failed to make much impact on the voters, primarily because Himachal is an employee-dominated state.For all of the 68 Assembly seats, a total of 337 candidates were in the fray. Singh won his Arki seat without much of a threat and also ensured his son Vikramaditya Singh’s debut from Shimla (Rural).The prestigious Shimla (Urban) seat was once again won by BJP’s Suresh Bhardwaj, who defeated Singh-backed rebel Harish Janartha. While CPI (M) came in third, Congress’s own candidate Harbhajan Singh Bhajji stood a poor fourth. Anil Sharma, who resigned from the government and the ruling Congress and joined the BJP just before the polls, along with his father and former telecom minister Sukh Ram, retained his Mandi seat.The CPI (M) is celebrating the victory of Rakesh Singha from Theog, despite it being a Congress stronghold. It must be mentioned that Vidya Stokes has held this seat many times during her long political career.Behind the scenesThe Gudiya rape and murder case, which came to light in the run-up to the elections, remained a major factor behind the Congress’s defeat in the state. Singh’s government was defamed for its apparent effort to shied the culprits. Though the Congress managed to retain the Jubbal-Kotkhai seat with over 9,000 votes, where Rohit Thakur defeated BJP’s Narinder Bragta, the negative publicity helped the rival party gain a huge ground elsewhere in the state.Another factor that helped the BJP score big in this hilly state was the absence of any top Congress leader during the campaigning. In fact, none of the party’s top leaders camped or campaigned in the state, with even party president Rahul Gandhi paying just one visit to address a couple of election rallies.Himachal was left to Singh, despite knowing well that he was fighting with his back to the wall, following the corruption probe. Also, the last five years could well be termed as his worst-ever tenure as he had no achievements to count. His tenure saw the emergence of a few retired bureaucrats, on extension, from his erstwhile state Rampur Bushair, who ran it like a princely state.The BJP, on the other hand, left nothing to chance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed over half a dozen election rallies and all top leaders of the party, including BJP president Amit Shah, home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, camped in the state for long periods.BJP, however, had nothing much to offer to the voters. The party counted Singh’s failures while Congress pointed at PM Narendra Modi’s three-and-a-half year of “misrule”.Finally, the anti-incumbency sentiment against the Singh government proved much stronger. The impact of demonetisation and the GST had little adverse impact in the state as compared to that in Gujarat.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Down 16 seats in vote of caution; bags Himachal

In the end, it was left to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliver, once again, Gujarat. Facing its toughest electoral contest in over 22 years, the BJP fell back on its most-trusted mascot to help it cross the finishing line in the state.The Narendra Modi-led BJP bucked strong anti-incumbency to retain Gujarat, while at the same time displacing the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.With Monday’s results, the BJP is now in power in 19 states while the Congress remains at the helm in only four — Punjab, Karnataka, Mizoram and Meghalaya.The BJP won its sixth straight Assembly election in Gujarat — but with its lowest tally ever — helped in no small measure by Modi’s 34 rallies. While the Congress’s vote share went up from 38 per cent in 2012 to over 41.5 per cent, BJP’s vote share also increased from 47.85 per cent to 49 per cent. However, when compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when the party swept all 26 seats, the BJP’s vote-share fell by almost 11 per cent, from 60 per cent to 49.In the hill-state of Himachal Pradesh, the BJP won 44, up 18 seats from 2012, to dethrone the Congress, which came down to just 21 seats, down 15 from its 2012 tally, in the 68-member House.However, in a shock for the BJP, its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost to his erstwhile aide Rajinder Rana from the Sujanpur constituency. Outgoing chief minister Virbhadra Singh, however, won from Arki while his son Vikramaditya Singh also won.However, while the Saffron party leaders suggested that victory and not size of the win matters, knowing Modi and his style of functioning, political observers expect some tough decisions in the offing.For Modi understands well that the next general election is only about a year away and nothing can be left to chance.A loss of 16 seats — the party’s tally went down from 115 to 99 in a House of 182, while Congress won 77 seats — BJP leaders say will certainly lead to intense soul-searching and pointed questions from the prime minister.”Election results show the country is ready for reforms,” PM Modi said while addressing party leaders and workers at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Monday evening.The Sensex couldn’t agree with him more. After counting of votes began at 8 am at 37 centres, Sensex crashed by over 800 points in early trades as initial trends showed that the two parties were neck-and-neck. However, it soon recovered as it became more or less clear that the BJP would emerge as the winner. For the opposition Congress, which went for broke under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi (who was anointed party president after the campaigning had ended), the results point at two things: First, there are signs of revival but that revival could be a long, tough road ahead. Second, every time it can’t fall back on the likes of Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor to put up a decent fight against the BJP.Counting of votes came with its own share of twists and turns. At one point, the BJP was leading in 108 seats, but the eventual tally was 99.A quick analysis of the results shows that different regions of the state voted differently. While suffering heavy reverses in Saurashtra, the BJP managed to hold on to Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, and Rajkot, winning 33 out of 37 seats on offer. The Congress improved its tally in Ahmedabad city from two to four, but failed to open its account in three of Gujarat’s largest cities.The BJP improved its tally in north and central Gujarat, the two regions where Congress had won 44 out of 93 seats in 2012. This time, the BJP increased its numbers in the two regions to 53 seats, while its tally in south Gujarat dipped from 28 to 25 seats. The rallies by Patidar reservation leader Hardik Patel hurt the BJP in rural areas, but failed to deliver any gains to Congress in urban seats. In Morbi, Gir Somnath and Amreli, the party could not win a single seat.Incidentally, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which had led to huge protests in Surat, Rajkot and other places, and was repeatedly raised by Rahul Gandhi in his campaign speeches, didn’t seem to have yielded any major electoral gains for the party.

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Assembly elections 2017 result: BJP suffers defeat in PM Narendra Modi’s home district

The Unjha constituency, under which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown Vadnagar falls, on Monday slipped out of the BJP’s hands with the Congress winning the north Gujarat seat.Congress’ Ashaben Patel wrested the seat, falling in the Patidar-dominated Mehsana district, from BJP’s five-term MLA Narayanbhai Patel.Mehsana was the epicentre of the Patidar agitation, which flared up in 2015.BJP was trying to contain the damage in Unjha by playing up the fact that its local candidate heads the Umiya Dham Temple, which is revered by the Patel community, but it clearly came a cropper.Ashaben defeated Narayanbhai by a margin of 19,529 votes. She bagged 81,797 votes as against the BJP candidate’s 62,268 votes.The 79-year-old BJP veteran had defeated Ashaben, 40, in the 2012 assembly election, winning the seat by a margin of over 24,000 votes.Out of the total 2.12 lakh voters of Unjha, over 77,000 are Patidars, while around 50,000 belong to the Thakor community.Both Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi had held poll rallies in Vadnagar.Overall, in the Mehsana district, BJP won five of the seven seats, with two going to the Congress.Apart from Unjha, Congress bagged the Becharaji constituency while the Mahesana city, Kheralu, Visnagar, Kadi and Vijapur seats went to the BJP.

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Assembly Elections 2017: Poll results expose hollowness of Gujarat model of development, says Akhilesh Yadav

Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said the outcome of the Gujarat Assembly election had exposed the hollowness of the “model of development” in that state.”It (Gujarat development model) is a fraud on the people and aimed at misleading the voters,” Yadav said in an official statement here.He said the BJP was expecting 150 seats but the results have proved that the people of that state did not endorse the Gujarat model of development though the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi went all out to ensure the party’s success.The SP had fielded candidates from five Assembly seats in Gujarat, all of whom lost the polls.The party chief said the Congress should take all secular parties along to usher in change in the 2019 Lok Sabha election as regional parties and regional issues would have a role to play in the next general elections.”The BJP speaks of ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas’ but when we try to give justice to all sections of the society, the same BJP calls it appeasement,” Yadav said.”We can build a strong Bharat only by taking all the people and sections along,” said the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, adding that the country could not progress when farmers were distressed and the youth was unemployed.

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Himachal Elections 2017: From PM Modi to Virbhadra Singh, who said what after BJP’s thumping win

Unseating Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday registered an emphatic win over the ruling party in the 68-member Assembly. The latest trend showed that the BJP has won 34 seats while it was leading on 10 other seats. Its rival Congress won 19 seats and was leading in 2 other constituencies, as per the latest trends. The BJP’s win turned sour as its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal and its state unit chief Satpal Singh Satti both were defeated in their respective constituencies. While Dhumal was lost the Sujanpur Assembly seat to his Congress rival Rajinder Singh Rana by about 3,500 votes, Satti was defeated in Una by Satpal Singh Raizada by over 3,000 votes.Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh won from Arki and Shimla(Rural) respectively.Also readHimachal Elections: After PK Dhumal’s loss, Jairam Thakur summoned to Delhi; likely to be CMHere is how local and national leaders of the two parties reaction to the Himachal Pradesh Assembly election results:Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Also readHimachal Pradesh Election Results 2017 LIVE: BJP wins battle, Virbhadra Singh accepts defeatThe results in Himachal Pradesh show that if if do not work for the development and are embroiled in all wrong acts then after 5 years people will not accept you.Watch: PM Modi speaks at BJP Headquarters after party’s win in Gujarat, HimachalAmit Shah, BJP PresidentThe two-third lead in Himachal Pradesh shows that people there want to join PM Narendra Modi in the journey to development.Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP CM candidatePersonal loss is not of much importance.The gain that victory has brought to state BJP is important. Thankful to people of the state for voting for BJP. In politics, sometimes one wins, sometimes one loses. I was not expecting to lose, I will do analyse this. Rajinder Rana, Congress (Who defeated Dhumal)It’s a symbol of people’s confidence in Congress. Thankful that they made me victorious. We have never stepped back from serving people in Sujanpur and we will always serve them.Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister I accept the victory of BJP. I, being the CM, take full responsibility of our performance here. I hope Vikramaditya keeps winning in future, like he won today.Vikramaditya Singh, CongressI’ll always stand with government, whichever party it might be of, and serve people. As a son, I am sad we couldn’t make it possible for him (Virbhadra Singh) to become the CM 7th time. We’ll analyse our drawbacks in meeting.Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister We are sad about Prem Kumar Dhumal losing but we are happy that people of Himachal Pradesh voted for the BJP.(With ANI inputs)Watch: BJP President Amit Shah speaks after Gujarat, Himachal win

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Vasundhara Raje hails BJP’s victory, credits Modi-Shah for clean sweep

Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje today said there was no alternative to the party in the country.Raje said it was the victory of Modi’s leadership and Shah’s organisational skills.”The people of Gujarat have once again voted for development. They once again reposed faith in the BJP leadership. It shows there is no alternative to the BJP in the country. “Results in Himachal Pradesh have proved that the country is moving ahead to become Congress-free,” Raje said in a statement.Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot said the BJP made tall claims of winning 150 seats in Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi s leadership was accepted by the people of Gujarat, he said.The BJP inched towards a record sixth straight victory in Gujarat assembly polls, and was set to evict the Congress in Himachal Pradesh, tightening the party’s grip over the country’s politics with general elections only 18 months away.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Akhilesh asks Rahul to build opposition unity ahead of 2019 pollsThe Gujarat results proved to be a seesaw, with BJP and Congress running neck and neck in the morning trends. At midday, BJP pulled ahead, but by 5 p.m. it apeared that although the party will emerge victorious it will be with a slim majority. “I assure (people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh) that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.According to Election Commission tally at 5 p.m., the BJP had won 70 seats and was leading in 29 for a possible total of 99 in the 182-member Gujarat assembly. At the start of the campaign, the BJP had said it was aiming for 150 seats. In the outgoing assembly it had 115 seats. The Congress won 62 and was leading in 15 for a possible total of 77, compared to 61 previously.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: It is a face-saving win but moral defeat for BJP in Gujarat, says Mamata BanerjeeCongress President Rahul Gandhi virtually conceded defeat, saying the party “accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states.” He thanked his party members for fighting “anger with dignity.” The BJP called the results a vote for development pushed by Modi, who was the tireless star campaigner in both states.The Congress took solace in the fact that it bettered its tally in Gujarat, the home turf of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.Shah expressed satisfaction with the result, saying that the party’s vote share in Gujarat had gone up to 49.10% from 47.85% in 2012. The Congress vote share was 41.5% in Gujarat, compared to 38.93% in 2012 was 38.93%.

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Assembly elections 2017 results: People rejected caste politics for Gujarat Model of development, says Yogi Adityanath

Reacting to the BJP victories in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that it was a lesson for those who indulged in “divisive and caste politics” to reject the Gujarat Model of development.“People all over the world have lauded the Gujarat Model except for the Congress. BJP’s win should serve them as a lesson for the Congress,” reacted Chief Minister.“BJP not only retained Gujarat but wrested Himachal Pradesh from the Congress. People have rejected their caste and divisive policies and voted for BJP’s agenda for development,” pointed Yogi Adityanath.He attributed the Gujarat and Himachal win to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It is the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister and party workers’ hard work that enabled the BJP to win at both places,” said the Chief Minister.He said that people of both states has given a befitting reply to the Congress for using unparliamentary language against the Prime Minister and stooping to a new low in politics by forgetting political courtesy.He did not forget to take a dig at the new AICC President Rahul Gandhi saying that he had predicted a few days ago that change of leadership in the Congress will be a good sign for the BJP and beginning of an end for the Congress.The Uttar Pradesh chief minister also said that the BJP win in Gujarat and Himachal has set the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.”It is time for the Congress to do some serious introspection whether or not it should contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls. We will win all 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh in 2019,” said Adityanath giving credit to party President Amit Shah’s poll strategy.

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

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

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Assembly elections 2017 result: ‘I salute hardworking BJP Karyakartas,’ PM Modi’s victory tweet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the assembly election results in Gujarat and Himachal Prades indicate BJP’s effort for development in the state.”Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development. I salute the hardworking BJP Karyakartas in these states for their hardwork which has led to these impressive victories,” PM Modi said on Twitter.”I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” he said in a series of tweets.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form a government in the state of Gujarat for the sixth time and end Congress’ reign in Himachal Pradesh.Union Minister Smriti Irani also hailed BJP’s win saying, “It’s a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development.””Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. It is a victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development,” she added.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Key candidates and their fate

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to retain power in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which the party has ruled for 22 years, although it is likely to lose some seats in the new Assembly.As per the trends of the Election Commission at 3 pm, the BJP has already bagged 35 seats while it is leading on 63 others. Congress has won in 26 Assembly constituencies while its candidates are leading on 52 other seats.Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has won by defeated Congress’ Indranil Rajguru from Rajkot West while his deputy Nitin Patel is leading by nearly 10,000 votes from Mahesana after early scare.Also readGujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: Rajnath Singh takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, says ‘sar mundwate hi ole pade’ Congress-backed independent candidate Jignesh Mevani has also won from Vadgam Assembly seat.Follow updates on key candidates of Gujarat Assembly election here.

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Assembly Elections 2017: Congress leader Ashok Gehlot says results depict victory for Rahul Gandhi’s campaign

As the BJP appears to be on its way to retain power in Gujarat, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot today said he saw the results as a “victory” for the party due to the response its chief Rahul Gandhi’s campaign got from the people.Gehlot, the Congress election in-charge for Gujarat, said Gandhi ran a nice campaign in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trends from 181 seats in the state, gave the BJP a lead in over a 107 seats while the Congress was following with 65.The simple majority mark in the 182-member Assembly is 92. The Congress, however, appears to be on its way to improve its 2012 tally.”The way the Congress campaigned and the way Rahul Gandhi did bus trips, we put up a very nice campaign. Whatever the results, the country will see this as the Congress’ victory,” Gehlot said.”Through the campaigning and manifesto, we have been successful in reflecting the feelings of the people of Gujarat and we believe we have been successful in that,” he said.To a question, Gehlot said the saffron party tried to turn the direction of the campaign by raising the ‘son of the soil’ issue. “The BJP tried to turn the campaign in another direction by its ‘son of the soil’ comments and saying that he (Modi) is a prime minister from Gujarat. We have given a very nice message to the people of Gujarat,” he said.He said it is not the culture of the Congress to make such comments.”Rahulji (Gandhi) had said that Congress people will not make such commments against the prime minister. The manner in which the prime minister made comments against Manmohan Singhji, Soniaji and Rahulji, we did not want to respond to them in the same language,” he said.

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Gujarat: Counting of votes starts in India PM’s home state

Counting of votes in underway in Gujarat, which Narendra Modi’s party has governed for 22 years.

EC to set up panel to suggest amendments in election law in view of latest communication technologies

The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday decided to set up a panel to suggest amendments to a provision in the election law barring campaigning 48 hours ahead of polling, following complaints that it has failed to keep pace with information technology.In an order issued tonight, it said the proposed committee will have members from the poll panel, the information and broadcasting, law and IT ministries, in addition to those from the National Broadcasters Associations (NBA) and Press Council of India (PCI).They will “examine these provisions in the prevailing context of communication technologies and suggest required changes”, it said.The order comes in the wake of controversies over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s FICCI meeting, Rahul Gandhi’s TV interviews and the release of BJP manifesto — all after campaigning had ended in Gujarat.The poll panel accepted that Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act does not take into account the revolution in communication technologies.”It appears imperative to revisit the provisions relating to the last 48 hours before completion of poll to appropriately address challenges unleashed by fast changing technologies in the context of multi-phase polls,” the EC said.

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

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

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Salman Khan set to push Nitin Gadkari’s e-cycles drive

You could soon see Bollywood superstar Salman Khan pedalling on the newly-built cycle track on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, promoting a healthy lifestyle as the brand ambassador of the government’s initiative to popularise e-cycles. Modi cabinet’s ‘go-getter’ minister Nitin Gadkari, a passionate advocate for electric vehicles, said the government wants to encourage cycling as a healthy mode of transportation. An e-cycle, which comes equipped with a small electric motor, can be used to cover greater distances than plain bicycles. “Salman Khan has discussed the issue with me. He is also looking into the aspects of manufacturing e-cycles. It will create huge awareness among the masses,” the road transport and highways minister told PTI. The ‘Being Human Foundation’ of Salman Khan, an avid cycler himself, is in talks with e-cycle manufacturers for a tie-up, sources said. The minister said some two to three years back when he started talking about environment-friendly fuel, people thought he was nuts, but now they are beginning to realise its advantages. “Bringing e-vehicles besides other environment-friendly fuel is my dream,” the minister said. Gadkari said the first leg of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which includes India’s first 14-lane highway, has a 2.5-metre wide cycle track and is set for launch any day now after being completed in record 14 months as against the scheduled 30 months. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 31, 2015 had laid the foundation stone of the Rs 7,566 crore expressway, saying it will bring people “freedom from pollution”, the way Meerut showed the way towards freedom in 1857. The minister said almost all new highways and expressways will have separate cycle tracks and people will be encouraged to use those for last mile connectivity, thereby benefiting them health-wise as well. “I appeal to the countrymen to use bicycles as much as possible. It has huge health benefits and will go a long way in minimising vehicular pollution. “We have already proposed to make cycle tracks on all major roads across the country, including on highways. I am doing this in my constituency Nagpur also,” Gadkari said. He said cycling is the best form of transport to curb vehicular pollution and the government will not lag behind in creating world-class infrastructure for it, matching advanced countries. “In five years, I think we will be at par with advanced nations,” he said, adding when people in countries like Netherlands could do this, why not those in India. The image of a smiling Prime Minister Modi sitting on a bicycle, an unusual gift from his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte, in June this year is still fresh in public memory. Rutte, 50, who usually pedals to work, had praised Modi for sustainable initiatives like ‘Clean India’ and ‘Make in India’. In Netherlands, known as the the flower shop of the world, cycling is a way of life with 18 million bicycles for just 16 million inhabitants, as per the Dutch government.

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10 free WiFi zones to come up in Ahmedabad

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) that had announced to provide more than 45 free WiFi spots in city under its Smart City plan by August has now decided to at least start a trial run on 10 of these by December 30.Ahmedabad has lagged behind as Rajkot has been providing internet access to its citizens since February. For internet connectivity and fibre optic network, civic authorities of Ahmedabad have allotted a budget of Rs 239 crore including CCTV cameras for surveillance.The 30 minute of free Internet access would be provided to Amdavadis under Internet of Things (IoT). “We are ready with the 10 spots as part of a trial run. December 30 is the day when we are going to start the run. Initially, we have covered all zonal offices of AMC, MJ Library, Riverfront, LG Hospital and a dental college of AMC,” said Yatindra Nayak, manager e-governance of AMC. “User data and limit is yet to be finalised and will be based on TRAI guidelines,” added Nayak.”Any smart phone has to be connected with the Internet after generation of One Time Password (OTP),” said Ramyakumar Bhatt, assistant municipal commissioner. Interestingly, a private company had started to provide free internet service in some zones of Ahmedabad in 2014, when Narendra Modi was the CM. The PM had even launched eight Wi-Fi hot-spots for citizens to enjoy seamless network facility including Kankaria Lakefront, Gandhi Ashram, Science City and Civil Hospital. The facility at most of these areas is not available now.AMC promises that soon after the trial run, more than 45 such spots will be set up. It is to be noted that the civic body is providing free internet access during its annual book fair which is held in May.CONNECTING PEOPLEFor internet connectivity and fibre optic network, civic authorities have allotted a budget of Rs239 crore including CCTV cameras for surveillance A 30-minute free Internet access would be provided to Amdavadis under Internet of Things (IoT) by the authorities

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PM Modi announces Rs 90,000 Cr for improving roads, highways in North East

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced Rs 90,000 crore for improving roads and national highways in the Northeast in the next two to three years to facilitate better connectivity.The prime minister dedicated to the nation a 271-km two- lane national highway connecting Tura in western Meghalaya and Shillong.Meghalaya was the second stop of the prime minister after Mizoram during his day-long visit to the Northeastern region today.”Over the next 2-3 years, an investment of about Rs 60,000 crore is proposed under the Special Accelerated Road Development Project (SARDP) in the Northeast and an investment of Rs 30,000 crore under Bharatmala is proposed for development of national highways in northeastern states,” Modi said while addressing a BJP rally here.He said the central government has sanctioned around 4,000-km of national highway (NH) across the Northeast at a cost of Rs 32,000 crore.Also readPM Modi inaugurates hydropower project in Mizoram, says northeast development is a top govt agendaThe prime minister said that over 1,200 km of NH was constructed at an expenditure of nearly Rs 14,000 crore during the last three years alone.Union Minister K J Alphons was present on the occasion.

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Five years of Nirbhaya case: DCW chief writes to PM on things remaining stagnant

Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal on Friday expressed the need to increase the punishment of rape cases of children to death penalty within six months of the crime. Maliwal wrote a detailed letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which she also stressed on the need to increase resources for police and forensic labs across the country.Mariwal’s letter to the prime minister comes on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the December 16 Delhi case in which a physiotherapy student was gang raped and murdered by a group of six people onboard a bus. The victim was accompanied by a friend who was also beaten up. Both of them were thrown out of the bus on the roadside.Maliwal also tweeted on the victim late Friday. “At the time of the incident, the nation cried for change, but in all this time things remain the same,” she said, further alleging that the money from the Nirbhaya fund that was established has not been used properly.”A report in UK’s The Guardian said that 24,923 rapes reported nationwide, 3,035 occurred in the large cities. “The number of reported rapes elsewhere in the country was more than seven times higher (despite some cases arguably going unreported) than the number of those reported in the main cities. But the police seem to be selective about what they investigate,” the report added.So why are so few rape cases reported? Studies suggest that women report crimes if female police officers are present. In March this year, the government admitted a shortage of women in the force, saying that only 7% of the total police strength in India comprised women.Secondly, the Indian police is short-staffed. A 2013 Indian Express report said that the rural police in the country did not even meet the 1960 standard, while a revelation in the Lok Sabha in 2016 showed that India was short of half a million police officers across the country.

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